The Department of Telecom (DoT) has been pulled up by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology for the delay in preparing a cabinet note for the roll-out of a public-private partnership (PPP) model for the rural broadband Bharatnet project. In its report the panel said that this had not been done even though a whole year has passed since the Digital Communication Commission (DCC) gave its approval for the initiative.
The BharatNet project is meant to cover all 2.5 lakh village panchayats with high speed broadband and was set to be completed by March 2019. However, so far, the count of such panchayats connected stand at half the target at 1.18 lakh gram panchayats (GPs).
The DCC had last year given in-principle approval to move to a public private partnership (PPP) model in order to expedite the project’s implementation. The DoT was required to take cabinet approval post the DCC green light, but little progress has been made. The DoT informed the panel that a draft cabinet note was under preparation.
“The committee are, however, disheartened to note that cabinet draft note is still under preparation,” the panel said in its report tabled in Lok Sabha on Monday, observing that the state-led model could not implement the initiative at the anticipated speed.