Cabinet approves BharatNet implementation through PPP Model in 16 States with optical fibre connectivity to all inhabited villages

Union Cabinet decision via PIB India:

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, today accorded approval for revised implementation strategy of BharatNet through Public Private Partnership mode in 16 States of the country. 

BharatNet will now extend upto all inhabited villages beyond Gram Panchayats (GPs), in the said States.  The revised strategy also includes creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance and utilization of BharatNet by the concessionaire who will be selected by a competitive international bidding process.  The estimated maximum viability gap funding approved for the above PPP model is Rs. 19,041 crores.

The States covered under the Cabinet approval today are Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. An estimated 3.61 lakh villages including GPs will be covered. 

The Cabinet also accorded in principle approval for extending BharatNet to cover all inhabited villages in the remaining States and UTs.  Department of Telecommunication will separately workout the modalities for these (remaining) States/UTs.

The PPP Model will leverage Private Sector efficiency for operation, maintenance, utilization and revenue generation and is expected to result in faster roll out of BharatNet. The selected concessionaire (Private Sector Partner) is expected to provide reliable, high speed broadband services as per pre-defined Services Level Agreement (SLA).

Extension of reach of BharatNet to all inhabited villages with reliable, quality, high speed broadband will enable better access of e-services offered by various Central and State Government agencies. 

It will also enable online education, telemedicine, skill development, e-commerce and other applications of broadband. It is expected that revenue will be generated from different sources including proliferation of broadband connections to individuals & institutions, sale of dark fibre, Fiberization of mobile towers, e-commerce etc.

Proliferation of broadband in rural areas will bridge the rural-urban divide of digital access and accelerate the achievement of Digital India. The penetration and proliferation of broadband is also expected to increase direct and indirect employment and income generation.  The States where PPP Model is envisaged, will facilitate free Right of Way.

BharatNet PPP Model will bring in following consumer friendly advantages:

(a)   Use of innovative technology by the Private Sector Provider for the consumers;

(b)   High quality of service and Service Level to consumers;

(c)   Faster deployment of network and quick connectivity to consumers;

(d)   Competitive tariffs for services;

(e)   Variety of services on high-speed broadband  including Over the top (OTT) services and multi-media services as part of packages offered to consumers, and

(f)    Access to all online services.

PPP Model in this critical infrastructure of Telecom is a novel initiative. The Private Sector Partner is also expected to bring an equity investment and raise resources towards capital expenditure and for operation and maintenance of the network.  Hence, the PPP Model for BharatNet will enhance efficiency, quality of service, consumer experience and leverage private sector expertise, entrepreneurship and capacities for accelerating achievement of digital India.  This will be in addition to substantial savings of public money.

COVID-19 in children is often asymptomatic and seldom requires hospitalization: Dr. V. K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:

Government of India has been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccination forms an integral component of the five-point strategy of Government of India to fight the pandemic (including Test, Track, Treat and COVID Appropriate Behaviour).

During the COVID-19 second wave in the country, several questions have been raised in the media regarding higher vulnerability of children to get adversely impacted by COVID-19 during the subsequent waves, if any.

Experts have allayed these fears and apprehensions on several platforms.

Dr. V. K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog at the Union Health Ministry’s media briefing on COVID-19 on 1st June 2021 had informed that adequate arrangements are being made in terms of healthcare infrastructure in order to provide effective care and treatment to children who may get infected.

He had further said that COVID-19 in children is often asymptomatic and seldom requires hospitalization. However, it is possible that a small percentage of children who get infected may need hospitalization

During the media briefing on COVID-19 held on 8th June 2021, Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi stated that there is no data, either from India or globally, to show that children will be seriously infected in subsequent waves.

Giving further clarification on the issue he said that healthy children recovered with mild illness without need for hospitalization while the ones admitted in the hospital due to COVID19 infection during the second wave in India either had co-morbidities or low immunity

Dr N K Arora, Chairperson of the COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) had stated on 25th June 2021 that Covaxin trials have been started on children aged between 2 – 18 years and the results for the same will be received by September to October this year.

He said that children may catch the infection, but they will not get seriously ill.

Keeping in mind the preparedness that is required to keep the children safe and healthy during subsequent COVID-19 waves, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued guidelines for ‘Management of COVID-19 in children (below 18 years) on 18th June 2021.

The document provides detailed guidance on symptoms, various treatments, monitoring and management including Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), advice for using masks etc.

The Union Health Ministry and various experts have regularly emphasised the need for COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) for children as well as adults to break the chain of transmission of the virus.

Witnessed illegal mining first hand near Beas bridge: Sukhbir Singh Badal

Sukhbir Singh Badal – President, Akali Dal:

Sand mafia has overtaken the State. Witnessed illegal mining first hand near Beas bridge which threatens the lifeline of Majha besides eroding river banks & destroying farmer fields.

Capt Amarinder has given an open license to mafia & Cong MLAs to loot Punjab to save his chair. Hundreds of trucks were engaged in illegal mining when I reached the Beas river bank along the main highway.

Mining mafia has no fear of the law. They have put pipelines on floaters & use fork cranes to mine sand. Rang up police officials but no one came to spot for 2 hours.

Villagers say police come every day but to collect bribes from mafia elements. Right from Capt Amarinder to Sukh Sarkaria as well as local DC & SSP should tell Punjabis why they are allowing this brazen loot. SAD demands arrest of mafia kingpins Ashok Chandak & Rakesh Chaudhary.

Spoke to Vijay Rupani ji. Urged him to file FIR, arrest the culprits: Arvind Kejriwal

Spoke to Vijay Rupani ji.

Urged him to file FIR, arrest the culprits, ensure strong action against culprits and ensure protection of AAP leaders and workers.

“If people like Isudan Gadhvi and Mahesh Savani are being attacked openly in Gujarat then no one is safe in Gujarat.”

Arvind Kejriwal – Chief Minister, Delhi

Covid cases in Karnataka are holding around 3k: Dr Sudhakar

Covid cases in Karnataka are holding around 3k:

  • New cases in Karnataka: 3,382

  • New cases in Bengaluru: 813

  • Positivity rate at 1.97%

  • Daily deaths: 111 (BLR- 11)

  • Active cases in Bengaluru: 43,698

  • Active cases in rest of State: 32,807

  • Tests today: 1,71,112
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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