- BharatNet is a project of national importance which aims to connect all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through optical fibre. It was launched in 2011.
- The project is implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL), a special purpose vehicle set up under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
- The entire project is being funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
- The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to rural India.
- In 2021, the Union Cabinet has accorded in principle approval for extending BharatNet to cover all inhabited villages in the States and UTs.
- It should be noted that a gram panchayat may consist of one or more villages, depending on their population.
Why in News?
- The government has allocated 1,39,579 crore rupees to extend Bharat Net in 6.40 lakh villages across the country.
- Built under the Make in India initiative, Bharat Net is one of the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programmes, being implemented by Central PSUs including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.