Cabinet clears Rs 19,041 cr for BharatNet in 16 states

Cabinet approves Rs 19,041 crore viability gap funding for BharatNet in 16 states

Prasad said the total expense will be Rs 29,430 crore to cover around 3,60,000 villages in the 16 states

 Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

The Centre on Wednesday gave its nod to the public private partnership mode for the rollout of the BharatNet project for broadband services in villages in 16 states with viability gap funding of Rs 19,041 crore.

The decision was taken during a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the total expense will be Rs 29,430 crore to cover around 3.6 lakh villages in the 16 states. The Centre will only spend the viability gap fund of Rs 19,041 crore.

The states covered under the revised scheme are Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. 

So far a total of 1.56 lakh out of the 2.5 lakh village panchayats have been connected with broadband.

"The revised strategy also includes creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet by the concessionaire who will be selected by a competitive international bidding process," the government said in a statement.

 The Cabinet also accorded in-principle approval for extending BharatNet to cover all inhabited villages in the remaining states and UTs.  Department of Telecommunication will separately work out the modalities for these (remaining) states/UTs, the statement added.
 

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