The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved three major infrastructure projects that aim to connect people faster. The ambitious Digital India project that would bring high-speed internet connectivity to far-flung rural areas was also cleared.
Plan to substantially improve tele-signals in Maoist-affected areas was also cleared by the cabinet. The third decision was to give the Nagpur Metro project a go ahead. The green signal to the Nagpur metro comes days before Prime Minister Modi visits the city in his maiden tour.
Digital India—a pet idea of Modi—will improve digital literacy, e-governance, e-delivery of government services and also provide mobile phone-enabled bank accounts in rural areas.
"The Cabinet also approved setting up of 1,836 new base transmission towers in Left Wing Extremist (LWE) affected districts. People in these areas and security forces have asked to improve the mobile connectivity in these districts," telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after the meeting.
The home ministry is known to be pushing for more mobile towers to improve their operations in these areas. Prasad said that already 363 towers have been set up from the Universal Services Obligation Fund.
The Nagpur Metro Rail, to be built at a cost of Rs. 8,680 crore, will cover approximately 38.21 kms along two corridors. "The project shall be implemented by the Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., which will be set up as a 50:50 jointly owned company of the government of India and the government of Maharashtra," said a government release.
Govt reduces onion's MEP
The union cabinet in a bid to check domestic prices also reduced the minimum export price (MEP) of onion to $350 per tonne. The proposal of agriculture ministry was cleared after taking into account improvement in domestic supply and rationalization of onion prices.