New Delhi, Aug 1 :
The government will expedite the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project to connect 50,000 gram panchayats this year, IT and Teleommunications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here Friday.
“A big revolution waiting to occur in the field of digital connectivity and once the government is able to create an enabling atmosphere, I am sure retailers, service providers, content creators will come on their own,” addressing the “i-bharat 2014” conference organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
The previous government thought of it, but it was in limbo, he said. “We have decided that we shall reach 50,000 gram panchayats this year, 1 lakh next year and 1 lakh a year after that. This we are pursuing very very vigorously.”
The NOFN aims at providing broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in India.
Prasad also mentioned that the government is very keen that all the universities in India are wi-fi enabled and all the schools in India must have broadband connectivity.
“The stakeholders also need to work. The government and private sector can work in a more effective and enabling atmosphere for the spread of broadband,” he said.
“Let there be healthy competition, fair engagement, The government will do the entire architecture in a fair, non-discriminatory manner so that people get the biggest benefit.”
On the absence of major electronic manufacturing in the country, Prasad said: “Current import of electronics goods in India is $100 billion, which is likely to become $400 billion by 2020. The import duty is going to surpass the fuel duty.”
The minister emphasised that huge employment can be generated in India in electronics manufacturing sector.