City to Pan­chayat Level Re­forms

Voice&Data - - COVER STORY - Board Mem­ber, Narayana Hru­day­alaya founder, Dig­i­tal Em­pow­er­ment Foun­da­tion DDG - Tech­nol­ogy, In­dia Post

In­dia is a coun­try of vil­lages. The het­ero­gene­ity in the na­ture of her ex­is­tence comes from the pow­er­ful pro­file of vil­lages the coun­try has. So, for any­thing to be­come main­stream in the coun­try has to be deep rooted and en­gulf the net­work of wide­spread vil­lages across the coun­try.

Re­al­iz­ing this fact, the govern­ment has from time to time al­ready been proac­tive on en­abling Broad­band for vil­lages. Be it Fiber to the Pan­chayat or Na­tional Fi­bre Op­tic Net­work, the fo­cus has al­ways been how to pen­e­trate deep and wide through the coun­try to bring vil­lages on to the net­work. How­ever, cities and vil­lages dif­fer in com­po­si­tion and ev­ery other as­pect and there is a need that th­ese are dealt dif­fer­ently. There is a need for dif­fer­ent set of re­forms at city as well as Pan­chayat lev­els.

Pan­chay­ats are the lo­cal­ized cen­tres of gov­er­nance and they could be piv­otal to­wards in­creas­ing Broad­band pen­e­tra­tion con­cen­tric to their ar­eas of ju­ris­dic­tions. Hence, a spe­cial cat­e­gory of ISPs/NGOs be cre­ated where mi­cro ISPs like Pan­chay­ats can be­come fea­si­ble tech­ni­cally as well as com­mer­cially where they can of­fer Broad­band as a Ser­vice in part­ner­ship with pri­vate en­ti­ties. A co­op­er­a­tive model can also be ex­plored for this pur­pose where the lo­cal Pan­chayat, NGOs, Govern­ment and a Pri­vate en­abler can come to­gether.

To en­cour­age lo­cal­ized mi­cro ISPs, tax hol­i­days should be worked out to off­set any mar­ket dis­abil­i­ties and in­crease ser­vices af­ford­abil­ity.

Rail­ways and Posts are two such or­ga­ni­za­tions that have the most ex­ten­sive net­work in the coun­try touch­ing al­most ev­ery re­gion and village in the coun­try. It is rec­om­mended that Rail­way sta­tions and Post Of­fices be con­verted into Wi-Fi hotspots to cre­ate a wide mesh of Wi-Fi net­work across the coun­try.

It is sug­gested that the PCO model be ap­plied in case of pro­mot­ing Wi-Fi at lo­cal lev­els. There should be pro­vi­sion­ing of Wi-Fi booths where in­di­vid­ual users can access In­ter­net against a nom­i­nal fee thereby mak­ing it ‘In­ter­net on De­mand’ for such a user base.

The govern­ment and the op­er­a­tors must work to­gether to cre­ate the broad­band in­fra­struc­ture. And this should be like a util­ity for the op­er­a­tors

Arun Seth

We should lib­er­ate village level ISPs, so that lo­cal en­trepreneur­s at the village level, us­ing wi-fi can of­fer some level of con­nec­tiv­ity

Osama Man­zar

Post of­fices are play­ing a very crit­i­cal role in fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and e-com­merce re­lated courier ser­vices. And to­day, band­width for us is more im­por­tant than wa­ter and elec­tric­ity

Ashish Ku­mar

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