A telecom tower stands on top of a building. (Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

Union Budget: Government Allocates Rs 10,000 Crore To Boost Telecom Infrastructure

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced Rs 10,000-crore outlay for financial year 2018-19 on expansion of telecom infrastructure under various government projects in the country.

“I have provided Rs 10,000 crore in 2018-19 for creation and augmentation of this telecom infrastructure,” Jaitley said in his budget speech while referring to work done under government’s Bharat Net project.

The Bharat Net project aims to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by March 2019.

The task of connecting 1 lakh gram panchayats with high speed optic fibre network has been completed under Phase 1 of Bharat Net program. This has enabled broadband access to cover....rural Indians in about 2.5 lakh villages. The government also proposed to set up 5 lakh wifi hotspots which will provide broadband access to 5 crore rural citizens.
Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister

He said that to harness benefit of emerging technologies, particularly the fifth generation technology and its adoption, the Department of Telecom will support establishment of indigenous 5G centres with Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai.

In a move to push adoption and development of new digital technologies in the country like machine learning, artificial intelligence, Internet of things , the finance minister announced allocation Rs 3,073 crore for the Department of Science and Technology.

To invest in research training, and skilling in robotics, AI, digital manufacturing, big data intelligence, quantum communications and art of the things, the DST will launch a mission on cyber space in support of establishment of centre of excellence. I have doubled their allocation on the digital India program to Rs 3,073 crore in 2018-19.
Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister

He said that the global economy is transforming into a digital one due to the development of cutting edge technology in the digital space-machine learning, AI, IoT, 3D printing and likes.

“Initiatives such as Digital India, Start-up India, Make in India would help to establish India as a digital society. Niti Aayog will introduce a national programme to direct our efforts in the area of AI including research, and development of its applications," Jaitley said.