India to spend Rs 10,000 crore from USOF during 2016-17

Telecom minister Manoj Sinha at an event
India’s Telecom Secretary JS Deepak announced that the government will be spending Rs 10,000 crore – from USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) — during 2016-17.

The proposed investment will be the highest in the history of USOF.

JS Deepak, speaking at an event in Delhi, said that finance ministry is conservative in allocation of funds under the USOF.

“Despite Rs 70,000 crore funds available under USOF, allocation of work is less than 40 percent. The execution of digital infrastructure projects particularly in rural areas needs to speed up,” said JS Deepak.

Manoj Sinha, minister of Communications, has called for holistic planning rather than piecemeal approach to achieve the vision of Digital India.

Manoj Sinha inaugurated a seminar organized by National Institute of Communication Finance on ICT emerging technologies and USOF for Digital India.

Manoj Sinha said India aims to connect one lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) through optical fiber cable (OFC) to serve the rural India by March, 2017.

TRAI chairman RS Sharma said the era of voice has been replaced by data and if India will lag behind in building the Digital Highway in a time bound manner, there will be problems of traffic Jam.

The two-day telecom event will discuss on the topics like changing role of USOF, regulatory issues and its future perspective, challenges of consolidation in digital Indian initiatives, Bharat Net and road ahead, broadband proliferation by telecom service providers, unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi etc.

Image caption: Manoj Sinha, minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge) and Railways, releasing the publication at a National Seminar on ICT Emerging Technologies & USOF for Digital India, in New Delhi on August 10, 2016. JS Deepak, telecom secretary, is also seen.