Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech on Wednesday said that nearly 1,50,000 gram panchayats will get high-speed internet under the BharatNet project by the end of the March 2018.
In a bid to boost the project, Jaitley announced that he was allocating an amount of Rs 10,000 crores to support the deployment.
Nearly 1,55,000 kms of optical fibre has been laid under BharatNet till date and it currently covers 75,700 gram panchayats.
Jaitley also said that nearly 1,55,000 kms of optical fibre has been laid under BharatNet till date and it currently covers 75,700 gram panchayats. As per data on May 2014, only 59 gram panchayats was covered under the programme.
The minister also said that the high-speed internet network will be accessible via wi-fi hotspots.
Jaitley also said that the government also plans to make use of the internet to teach people in these panchayats and help them with medical issues via telemedicine under the DigiGaon programme.
Additionally, the finance minister said that a mission will be set up with a target of 2,500 crores digital transactions for FY 2017-18 through UPI, USSD, Aadhar Pay, IMPS, and debit cards.
He added that banks have targeted to introduce additional 10 lakh new POS terminals by March 2017. Banks will be encouraged to introduced 20 lakh Aadhaar-based POS terminals by September 2017, he said.
Further he said that digital payment infrastructure and grievance handling system shall be strengthened with focus on rural and semi-urban areas through post office, fair price shop, and banking correspondents.