The Union Cabinet cleared utilisation of the Universal Service Obligation Fund for provision of mobile connectivity in 7,287 uncovered villages across five states at an estimated cost of ₹6,466 crore.
Information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur said these uncovered villages of 44 aspirational districts across five states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha will get 4G-based mobile services. “So, a total 7,287 uncovered villages will get telecom towers and services, and lakhs of people will get connectivity,” Thakur said. The estimated cost of implementation of ₹6,466 crore includes operational expenses for five years.
The project would be funded by the USOF, and would be completed within 18 months of signing of the agreement, a statement said. The work related to provision of 4G mobile services in identified uncovered villages would be awarded through an open competitive bidding process as per extant USOF procedures. “The present proposal for provisioning of mobile services in the remote and difficult uncovered areas of aspirational districts across five states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha will enhance digital connectivity useful for self-reliance, facilitate learning, dissemination of information and knowledge, skill upgradation and development, disaster management, e-Governance initiatives...,” the release said.