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Cabinet nod to BharatNet plan through PPP Model; to cover inhabited villages in 16 states

Cabinet nod to BharatNet plan through PPP Model; to cover inhabited villages in 16 states

Centre has looped in private sector to boost broadband connectivity and earn revenue from service. Bidding to be done at global level

Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Cabinet on Wednesday approved BharatNet implementation strategy through PPP (public private partnership) Model to cover inhabited villages in the country across 16 states. This means that the Centre has looped in the private sector to boost broadband connectivity and earn revenue from the service. "Viability gap funding support of up to Rs 19,041 crores has been approved. All remaining States/UTs to be covered," the principal spokesperson of the Centre said.

"The PPP model to be executed in 3,61,000 villages in the 16 state; and bidding to be done at the global level," Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the Cabinet today gave approval to the decisions announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman two days ago. IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a historic decision has been taken in pursuit of information highway in all the villages of India.

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Sitharaman had on Monday announced an additional outlay of Rs 19,041 crore for BharatNet to expand and upgrade broadband connectivity to cover all gram panchayats and inhabited villages. This is part of the announcement Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made on August 15, 2020, saying all villages will be connected with broadband in 1,000 days.

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"Additional Rs 19,041 crore is being provided so that the commitment that in 1,000 days from 2020 all villages will have broadband connectivity is fulfilled," Sitharaman said, while announcing stimulus measures for various sectors. "Total outlay for this Bharatnet project goes up to Rs 61,109 crore," she added. She said Rs 42,068 crore has already been utilised for reaching 1,56,223 gram panchayats that are now ready for broadband services as of May 31. "Now with this additional Rs 19,041 crore we should be able to complete the rest," Sitharaman said.