The state government will equip 4,400 panchayat buildings with Wi-Fi network by 2017, officials with the chief minister’s secretariat said on Sunday.
Wi-Fi is a local area wireless computer networking technology that allows electronic devices to connect to the network.
The move will help the government monitor working of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) through video conferencing and online data updates, officials said.
“The project will be started by next year on a pilot basis at 400 panchayats in Ramgarh and Bokaro districts,” said SK Burnwal, secretary to the chief minister.
It has been estimated that to equip each panchayat building with Wi-Fi, electric equipment like transformers and solar power will cost the government `10 lakh.
PRIs will be connected with Wi-Fi before district and block offices get the facility, officials said. The state has given the Jharkhand Agency for Promotion of Information and Technology (JAP-IT) the responsibility for implementing the project.
JAP-IT officials said internet would be provided for free for one hour every day, and the service provider would charge a minimum cost for internet use after that.
“The first hour will be used by the government to speak to panchayat officials and elected representatives. They will review progress of various programmes,” said Burnwal
CM secretariat officials said the project would be vital for monitoring MGNREGA work, rural road construction, irrigation, health, education and infrastructure schemes.
PRIs will be allotted computers and laptops by the government, said officials.
Last year the Centre had announced to equip 2.5 lakh gram panchayats with internet services. India’s first Wi-Fi-enabled panchayats, 400 of them in Gujarat, plugged into internet in June this year.
Under the Digital India and e-governance programmes, the Jharkhand government recently announced Wi-Fi for universities and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya and for health centres to enable telemedicine services.