'Villages to get free WiFi connected via Bharat Net'

'Villages to get free WiFi connected via Bharat Net'

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. (PTI Photo)

Wi-Fi services being provided through Bharatnet in villages across India will be free of charge till March 2020, Telecom, IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday. 

"We have already connected 1.3 lakh gram panchayats through Bharatnet...Our target is to take this to 2.5 lakh GPs. To promote utilisation of Bharatnet services we will provide WiFi free in all villages connected through Bharat net till March 2020," said Prasad while inaugurating Digital Village Gurawara in Rewari district in Haryana.

He said the target of the government is to convert at least 15 % of villages in India as a digital village during the tenure of this government.

"The Digital Village scheme was announced during Budget 2015-2016. Initially, we implemented the scheme in five locations as a pilot. Considering the success of the pilot project, we have been given the task of setting up 700 digital villages across the country, one in every district, Common Service Centre (CSC), Chief Executive Officer Dinesh Tyagi said.

Digital village focuses on empowering the entire village community by providing access to education, health or financial services through the digital medium. In a Digital village, eligible citizens are made digitally literate. Youth and students can access a range of educational and skilling courses. Citizens can avail quality healthcare through telemedicine consultations under allopathy, homoeopathy and ayurvedic systems, Tyagi said.

Digital village also enables a financially inclusive society by providing banking, insurance and pension services at the doorstep of citizens. In addition, the entire village is Wi-Fi enabled so that every citizen is digitally connected, Tyagi said.