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Cabinet approves USOF scheme for mobile services in 7,287 uncovered villages in 5 states

Cabinet approves USOF scheme for mobile services in 7,287 uncovered villages in 5 states

I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said uncovered villages of 44 aspirational districts across five states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha will get 4G-based mobile services.

The project would be funded by the USOF, and would be completed within 18 months of signing of the agreement. The project would be funded by the USOF, and would be completed within 18 months of signing of the agreement.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared utilisation of the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) for provision of mobile connectivity in 7,287 uncovered villages across five states at an estimated cost of Rs 6,466 crore.

Briefing media on the Cabinet decisions, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said these uncovered villages of 44 aspirational districts across five states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha will get 4G-based mobile services.

"So, a total 7,287 uncovered villages will get telecom towers and services, and lakhs of people will get connectivity," Thakur said.

The estimated cost of implementation of Rs 6,466 crore includes operational expenses for five years.

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The project would be funded by the USOF, and would be completed within 18 months of signing of the agreement, an official release said.

The work related to provision of 4G mobile services in identified uncovered villages would be awarded through an open competitive bidding process as per extant USOF procedures.

"The present proposal for provisioning of mobile services in the remote and difficult uncovered areas of aspirational districts across five states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha will enhance digital connectivity useful for self-reliance, facilitate learning, dissemination of information and knowledge, skill upgradation and development, disaster management, e-Governance initiatives...," the release said.

The move would also enable establishment of enterprises and e-commerce facilities, provision of adequate support to educational institutes for knowledge sharing and availability of job opportunity, while fulfilling the vision of Digital India.

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