A workshop was recently organised by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to create a roadmap to increase internet connectivity in the country. Different public and private stakeholders were invited to the workshop to put forward their solution to improve internet connectivity in the country. The workshop was chaired by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for IT and the objectives of the government to increase the penetration of the internet was discussed. One major theme of the work revolved around BharatNet, the largest fibre-based rural broadband connectivity project in the world. Strategies were discussed in the workshop to increase internet connectivity in the remote location of the country and therefore, BharatNet has a central role to play.

Vision of BharatNet for Northeast India

On June 30, the implementation strategy of BharatNet was revised by the Union Cabinet to improve the internet connectivity in the Northeast states. Individually, one can improve the broadband speed through their router by logging in the system either through or on their web browser depending upon the router that one is using. However, before doing that, it is important to have an internet connection in the region. This is something on which BharatNet is working. The revised plan of implementation strategy includes creation, operation, upgradation, utilisation and maintenance of internet connectivity provided by BharatNet. The estimated cost for the same is approximately INR 19,041 crore. Through the revised plan, the inhabited villages will be covered.

BharatNet Broadband Connectivity inaugurated in Mizoram

On October 16, BharatNet broadband connectivity was inaugurated at Sesawng village of Mizoram. The initiative was a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate 75 years of independence of the country and was organised by Bharat Broadband Network Limit. The project was a part of Phase II of the Telecommunications Department to widen the broadband connectivity in all the Gram Panchayats of Mizoram.

The internet connectivity in the village will ensure the much-required internet connection for the students who are engaging in online classes due to the pandemic in addition to other necessary online services. In addition to increasing internet penetration, work is also being carried out to improve mobile coverage in remote villages. The entire operation falls under the Digital India Program which was launched by the Government of India to improve digital connectivity and reduce the digital gap in the country.

Technology is expected to generate employment

Recently, KG Kenye, Member of Parliament in Nagaland also commented on the power of technology to improve development by generating income, employment and quality of life. While praising the approval of the government for high-speed broadband internet in 16 states which also includes Nagaland, he said that the internet connectivity will make online education, telemedicine, eCommerce and skill development accessible.

He further drew the attention of the policymakers towards the importance of bridging the digital gap by adopting digitalisation on a massive scale. He said that it is important to increase internet penetration in the backward areas. This will benefit the small businesses which in turn will raise the income of the individuals and will improve the development. It is further important to ensure security in the digital economy to improve the confidence of internet users. The digitization age is termed as the fourth industrial revolution to make the world a better place for the present and the future generation.

Internet connectivity in India

India currently has more than 749 million internet users. The number of internet users is expected to be more than 1.5 billion by 2040. The projection trend signifies the market potential of internet-related services in the country. The same is visible from the fact that after China, India has the second-largest eCommerce market in 2019. Even though a digital divide exists in the country, hopefully, the same will be diminished under the Digital India program. The Covid pandemic also resulted in an unexpected growth of internet users in the country. For instance, Gujarat saw an increase of four million internet users during the pandemic. Digital adoption is taking place in all the sectors of the country and it will give a new way for the country to boost its economy soon.

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