The government plans to connect every panchayat to a broadband network in the next three years part of its ambitious target to drastically improve infrastructure in the villages under its Bharat Nirman (Build India) programme.

Announcing the government's plans at a joint session of the new Parliament, President Pratibha Patil said: 'The rural telecommunication target will be set at reaching 40% rural tele-density in the next five years.'

She added that the government envisaged 'expanding broadband coverage to connect every panchayat to a broadband network in three years.'

Ms. Patil said: 'The scheme for common service centres or e-kiosks will be suitably repositioned to be a network of panchayat-level Bharat Nirman Common Service Centres to provide government services to citizens in rural areas.'

Going by the new targets, as many as 1.20 crore (12 million) rural houses would be built in the next five years and this is double the target of six million units that was met by the previous government.

The government also expects to complete its rural water supply programme in the next two years and hand it over to the panchayats to manage them.

The president also said new targets would be set up for rural electrification, irrigation projects and road connectivity in the rural areas.


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