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Progress in Rural Telephone Connectivity under Bharat Nirman

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We often wonder what happen to government schemes which are released with huge fanfare and publicity, but somewhere along the way get discreetly swept into neglect, until no trace remains. While there are many schemes that can be cited in the above category, Bharat Nirman, a rural development program announced in 2005 by the Congress Government in power, seems to be still chugging along.

 

Bharat Nirman is a time bound plan and focuses on 6 main components of rural infrastructure development. These are Irrigation, Roads, Rural Housing, Water Supply, Rural Electrification and Rural Telecommunication connectivity. While the time lines have been largely flouted, it is still comforting to know that the plan is slowly being executed.

 

While you can (and should) read about the tenets of the Bharat Nirman plan here, we would like to focus on one of the goals of the plan, namely, Telephone connectivity in all the remaining 66,822 villages by November 2007. Here is an article from CIOL Network that confirms the inclusion of 54,700 villages under the umbrella of BSNL connectivity. While this is lower than the set target, and behind time, we still appreciate that there is progress. I’m sure the villages that have benefited agree with us.

 

Excerpts from the article:

The Central Government has provided Village Public Telephones (VPTs) in about 54,700 uncovered villages under Bharat Nirman Programme through subsidy support from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

With this, the State owned BSNL has provided telephones to five and half lakh villages across the country said an official press release. The telecom giant has also brought 30,500 villages under the reach of Broadband.

 

Not all is going great with the scheme though. This article in The Hindu reviews the progress till December 2007, and states that apart from rural telephony, the scheme has displayed unsatisfactory progress in all other sectors of interest.

 

It is true that we have a long way to go before we can sit back and heave a sigh of contentment on the progress made in improving lives of the Indian rural populace. However, we do believe that every drop in the ocean deserves recognition and accolade.

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