Aiming to strengthen its Digital India push, the government on Wednesday said it will pump Rs 10,000 crore in 2017-18 in its BharatNet project to lay optical fibre cables (OFC).
"Under the BharatNet Project, OFC has been laid in 1,55,000 km. I have stepped up the allocation for BharatNet Project to Rs 10,000 crore in 2017-18," Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget for 2017-18.
"By the end of 2017-18, high speed broadband connectivity on optical fibre will be available in more than 150,000 gram panchayats, with Wi-Fi hot spots and access to digital services at low tariffs," he added.
Saying the telecom sector is an important component of the country's infrastructure eco system, Jaitley said the recent spectrum auctions have removed spectrum scarcity in the country.
"This will give a major fillip to mobile broadband and Digital India for the benefit of people living in rural and remote areas."
The Minister said the government will launch a DigiGaon initiative, which will provide tele-medicine, education and skills through digital technology.