Govt committed to develop telecom infra in naxal areas: Sibal
New Delhi: Emphasising its commitment to develop telecom infrastructure in naxal affected areas, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has already cleared a proposal to set up 2,199 mobile towers in such zones.
"We are committed to develop the infrastructure in naxal affected areas…DoT has cleared the proposal and it will now be sent to Cabinet," Minister of Communications and IT Kapil Sibal told reporters here.
The Telecom Ministry has expeditiously cleared the three-year old proposal entailing Rs 3,046.12 crore amid the recent killings of 27 people, including senior Congress leaders, in Chattisgarh by Maoists.
According to the proposal, the 2,199 towers are likely to be spread across nine states–Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The identified areas do not have mobile coverage.
The DoT has proposed installing towers in the Naxal-affected areas through state-run BSNL on nomination basis without floating any open tender by using the Universal Service Obligation Fund.
The Ministry will seek Cabinet approval to amend Indian Telegraph Rules for the purpose. As per Indian Telegraph rules, USOF can be provided to firms selected through a bidding process.
Meanwhile, Sibal launched the pilot e-Gov application store, which has been designed, developed and hosted by Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) through NIC.
"The e-Gov Appstore will bring functional efficiencies in the government and enable citizens to receive services in a more streamlined manner. Inclusion of IT governance aims to reduce uncertainty and improve transparency," Sibal said.
At present, 20 applications are hosted on the store while 100 new applications will be put on it in three years.
There are three categories of applications on the Appstore which include free, paid and applications which are restricted for government use only, DeitY Secretary J Satyanarayana said.
The Appstore will be augmented to include applications and components developed by various departments and agencies at Centre, states and by private players, he added.