The Union Cabinet approved the revised implementation strategy of BharatNet through Public-Private Partnership mode in 16 states.
An official statement said that BharatNet will now extend up to all inhabited villages beyond Gram Panchayats (GPs) in these states — Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh. An estimated 3.61 lakh villages including GPs will be covered.
The approval comes after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the revised strategy and the additional allocation on Monday.
The revised strategy also includes creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet by the concessionaire who will be selected by a competitive international bidding process.
The estimated maximum viability gap funding approved for the above PPP model is Rs 19,041 crore.
The Cabinet also accorded an in-principle approval for extending BharatNet to cover all inhabited villages in the remaining states and Union Territories. The Department of Telecommunications would separately workout the modalities for the remaining states and Union Territories.
Further, the states where PPP Model is envisaged, will facilitate free Right of Way.