All Gujarat villages now connected to the net by broadband
Gandhinagar, March 22 (IANS) Gujarat has brought broadband connectivity to all village bodies so that “every household can avail the advantages of information technology”. At a meeting Friday to discuss the progress of “e-gram-vishwa-gram society” (e-village, global village) - a special purpose vehicle set up by the state government for the purpose - Chief Minister Narendra Modi congratulated officials of the panchayat and rural development department for the feat.
Each of the 13,693 village panchayats in the state is now connected to the worldwide web at a speed of 256 kilobytes per second.
This feat came about in two years at an expenditure of Rs.1.50 billion for installing computers, tying up with Internet service providers and training villagers, particularly local body officials.
Finance Minister Vajubhai Vala, presenting the budget for 2008-09, had said that after successfully providing electricity to villages under the Jyotigram scheme, the government had planned for the first time in the country to connect the villages through the broadband network so that “every household can avail the advantages of modern science and information technology”.
With this, Vala said the Gujarat villages would become “e-gram-vishwa-gram” since the connectivity would make education, telemedicine, veterinary services and market linkage in agriculture production easily accessible to the masses.
He said through e-connectivity, village councils would be provided with facilities of Internet, video conferencing and multi-casting.
All village bodies will be able to communicate with one another with the help of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP).
Gujarat this week bagged the Scrotch Challengers-2008 Award for effectively implementing rural empowerment by e-governance. C. Rangarajan, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the prime minister, handed over the award to Panchayat Secretary Varesh Sinha at the Scrotch Challengers summit organised in New Delhi March 18-19.