On the occasion of the 74th Independence Day, PM Narendra Modi delivered a fine speech at the iconic Red Fort. He spoke about a multitude of topics, ranging from COVID-19 to border issues. The Prime Minister also talked about the BharatNet Program.
A target of 1000 days
PM Modi said that in the next 1000 days, all the villages in the country will be connected by an optical fiber network. He added that until 2014, only five dozen panchayats had come under the scheme, but in the last five years alone, around 1.5 lakh village panchayats have been connected with an optical cable. He finished saying that all the village panchayats would be covered in the next 1000 days.
Reality is different though
Actually, the above-said mission was started by Manmohan Singh’s government as the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) program. The BJP government later named it as Bharat Net.
The project is being implemented in three phases. Phase 1 covered 1 lakh gram panchayats, Phase 2 targeting 1.5 lakh, and Phase 3 is supposed to focus on infrastructure up-gradation of the existing facility.
However, as per many reports, under BharatNet phase two, against the target of providing last-mile connectivity to 1.5 lakh gram panchayats, only about 7.45 percent of these have been made service. As in February, out of 45769 WiFi hotspots installed, only 18041 of them were working.
In several states, phase two of the project is getting delayed, and the states are also asking for more funds so that the work can get started. With this situation, PM Modi’s 1000-day target looks less likely at the moment.
Source: Free Press Journal