eGovernance may become reality in 2.5 lakh villages by March

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As many as 2.5 lakh gram panchayats are likely to start enjoying eGovernance services—citizen-centric services offered over digital platforms—by March next year as the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project is slated to be completed by then.

According to sources, the Prime Minister’s Office has asked the communications ministry to revise the NOFN’s deadline to connect these gram panchayats to March 2016 from December 2016.

As the villages get connected through NOFN, people will have better access to healthcare, education and business opportunities, and above all, will be able to connect themselves directly with the government.

The previous government missed its March 2014 deadline to connect 100,000 gram panchayats and was only able to connect 60 gram panchayats by optical fibre till May this year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was recently assured by Communications Secretary Rakesh Garg that NOFN will become operational by March 2016. NOFN was conceived in 2011 and since then has been falling back on its targets.

Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s had said upon assuming office that “if Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was known for national highways, Narendra Modi government will be known for broadband highway”.

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