JAMMU: Of total 4291 Gram Panchayats (GPs)/Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, a meager 382 RLBs have active internet connections as on January 21, 2023. This has been revealed in the report of the Standing Committee on Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR).
The report was presented to the Lok Sabha on March 14, 2023. In Ladakh UT, out of total 193 GPs only 43 have active internet. Overall, of total 271102 GPs across the country, only 80742 have active internet connection. The Secretary, MoPR while updating the Committee about the current status of Internet Connectivity in GPs informed that in the hilly areas like J&K and North-East, it will take around 2025 to reach through BharatNet.
“So far, out of 2.5 lakh panchayats, 1.9 lakh panchayats have been made service ready, but all 35 the panchayats are not operational. Only 80,000 panchayats are operational. There are some gaps here. We are working with the Ministries of Telecom and IT to see how that gap can be filled. The target date to reach all the panchayats is 2024-25. There are another two years left. In other districts, it is almost there. We hope that in the next six months we will make substantial progress in this”, MoPR Secretary replied.
Considering the significance of the project, the Committee urged the Ministry to take concrete steps in coordination with other two Ministries to make all the 1.92 lakh service ready GPs to have active internet connection during 2023-24 and to connect all GPs with BroadBand connectivity by 2024-25.
“The Committee notes that the MoPR aims at digitization of GPs by providing broadband connectivity to more than 2.55 lakh GPs of the country in collaboration with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY). However, the panel acknowledges that progress of the BharatNet Project is not encouraging. The Committee has also observed lack of broadband connectivity in the GPs and use of private cellular data for public service delivery during its Study Visits undertaken to States”, the report said.