E-governance Optical fiber broadband network to bridge digital divide in rural areas

Construction has begun on India s multi-billion dollar high-speed broadband network With plans to connect 600 million rural citizens the optical fiber network will be the largest of its kind
E-governance Optical fiber broadband network to bridge digital divide in rural areas

ASSOCHAM conducted its 11th National Summit e-governance and Digital India, inclusive growth through digital empowerment on 10th September, New Delhi.

The vision of Digital India aimed to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.  The programme implemented in phases from the current year till 2018.  The Digital India is transformational in nature and would ensure that Government services are available to citizens electronically.  It would also bring in public accountability through mandated delivery of government’s services electronically, a Unique ID and e-Pramaan based on authentic and standard based interoperable and integrated government applications and data basis.

In the event Aruna Sundarajan, Chairman & MD Bharat Net & Dept. Of Telecommunications, talked about the importance of optical fiber and it is the most economical means of communication as it can carry higher bandwidth applications. “We will ensure high-speed broadband connectivity to all the gram panchayats. This is to be achieved by utilising the existing optical fibre network of public sector companies and extending it to village panchayats,” says Sundarajan.

She also said that our country is entering into a new era of digital empowerment. “Our digital project is a giant leap to bridge the digital divide between urban and the rural India by linking all the gram panchayats in the country through the common platform of optical fibre cable. Our vision is to transform our country into a knowledge economy,” says Sundarajan.

Chairman R.S. Sharma, The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), said the TRAI is floating second information paper within two weeks time clearly stipulating the factors and compensation that may be paid to the consumer by telecom.

“After 15 days, we will check whether they are able to improve the situation or not on issue of call drops. Otherwise, we will take a call as what are next step to be taken”, said Sharma.
The regulator has asked stakeholders to send in suggestions by September 21 while counter-arguments need to be submitted by September 28. TRAI we will submit their final recommendations till 10 to 15 of October. 

Sharma also announced that the opposition to setting up telecom towers in residential areas was based on apprehensions that were baseless.  He said the TRAI, telecom operators and government together should promote an awareness campaign on this as without telecom towers service quality would not improve.

On the other hand Akhil Gupta, Vice-Chairman emphasised that there is no shying away from this. Pointing out that quality "is a two-way street", Gupta lauded the Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for writing to state chief ministers to provide sites for setting up telecom infrastructure.  However, he wanted the State Electricity Boards to take up the electricity supply to telecom towers on a priority basis.

Capt. Abhimanyu, Finance Minister, Government of Haryana said, “Haryana is concentrating its efforts on building an ecosystem where large numbers of citizens acquire Digital Literacy, children in formal education in schools and college acquire IT skills, impart IT skills on a large scale, provide entrepreneurial skills through “startup warehouses” and provide incentives to attract IT industry to Haryana. A new IT policy shall be framed and out in place by January 2016.
Detailing the vision of the state government, Haryana Minister for Finance and Industries Capt. Abhimanyu said that progress was so fast in the last 10 months of the new government AADHAR cards have been issued to 94.7 per cent of the state population. He wanted software technology parks where more start -ups could come up.  "We are working on creating potential opportunities for entrepreneurs at every inch of land in the state" the Minister said asking the gathered IT and telecom industry to come up with new PPP models and variety of applications for such entrepreneurship to flourish.  

Capt. Abhimanyu pointed out that 35,000 government employees were already subject to biometric attendance system. He announced that based on the evaluated speeding up of work in the government offices where this was introduced the government was determined to get the entire 3,00,000 state government staff to come under the system throughout Haryana.

Santosh Anoo, Senior Director, Deloitte in India said, “focused execution using innovative partnership models will expedite the realization of the Digital India vision.  Best of breed localized solutions with focus on total cost of ownership will build on the great start and deliver viable business models”.

P. Balaji, Director, Regulatory, External Affairs & CSR, Vodafone India, Jay Chen, CEO, Huawei, India, Umang Das, Chairman, National Council on e-Governance & Digital India and D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM were also present in the event.

The Changing Face of Rural India