Government to provide solar-based Internet access to rural areas

Under the Common Service Centres (CSCs) program the government has committed to provide solar power based internet connectivity to 250,000 villages across the country.  The initiative will provide and improve banking, pension, digital literacy, and tele-medicine services to rural and remote villages.

Presently, the CSS are operational in about 0.18 million gram panchayats. This number is expected to reach about Rs 0.25 million by end-2018. The CSCs programme along with DigiGaon or Digital Village programme is aimed at providing rural communities with various e-services which will help in promoting entrepreneurship, and creating capacities and livelihoods through local and community participation.

Piyala and Dayalpur (in Haryana), Chandankiyari East and Shivbabudih (in Jharkhand), and Dhanauri Kalan and Sultanpur (in Uttar Pradesh) have been chosen for the pilot phase. About 700 more digital villages will be established by the year end.

According to DiSPA, PPAs worth over 95 MW of rooftop capacity have already been signed with government organisations and PPAs for another 100-120 MW capacity are in the pipeline. These are expected to be signed over a period of 30-45 days. DiSPA has therefore called for an additional six month extension to help achieve the twin objective of promotion of rooftop solar and electricity cost reduction for government entities.

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