In a written reply in the Lok Sabha today, Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that 1.4 lakh gram panchayats have been connected with optical fibre cable (OFC) under the Bharat Net project till November 7. However, out of 1.4 lakh connected gram panchayats, only 1.2 Lakh gram panchayats are service ready, the Minister said in his response to the MPs Ramdas C. Tadas and Sangam Lal Gupta. It is worth noting that not even a single gram panchayat has been connected with OFC connectivity in Tamil Nadu, under the ongoing BharatNet Project Phase-2. However, in Union Territories (UTs) like Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Puducherry, all of the GPs have been connected with OFC under the project.

The Minister informed that 3.8 lakh kilometre OFC has been laid out in the country, which has connected 1.4 lakh GPs. He further said that Wi-fi hotspots have been installed in 44,786 gram panchayats and 32 post offices are utilising BharatNet connectivity via BSNL. It is important to note that the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) office is funding the BharatNet project in India and a sum of Rs 20.889 crores has been allocated and disbursed from USOF to Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) for executing the project.

State-wise detail:

These are the 5 states with the highest connectivity under the ongoing BharatNet Project:

  • Kerala: 100%
  • Haryana: 99.7%
  • Karnataka: 99.6%
  • Tripura: 90.2%
  • Bihar: 88.29%

These are the 5 states with the lowest connectivity under BharatNet Project: 

  • Himachal Pradesh: 7.73%
  • Telangana: 15.25%
  • Sikkim: 19.80%
  • Uttarakhand: 20.30%
  • Andhra Pradesh: 30.08%

State-wise funding from USOF under BharatNet project:

These are the 5 states with the highest funds’ disbursement/utilisation

  • Maharashtra: Rs 1,976.12 crore
  • Uttar Pradesh: Rs 1,561.2 crore
  • Chhattisgarh: Rs 939.22 crore
  • Karnataka: Rs 618.01 crore
  • Bihar: Rs 573.62 crore

These are the 5 states with the lowest funds’ disbursement/utilisation

  • Manipur: Rs 46 crore
  • Kerala: Rs 66 crore
  • Meghalaya: Rs 67.23 crore
  • Tripura: Rs 70.76 crore
  • Nagaland: Rs 74.1 crore

Phase I of the project was completed in December 2017, and 1 lakh gram panchayats were made service-ready. Now Phase II is under implementation, and a total of 2 lakh gram panchayats are targeted to be completed by March 2020.