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Major strides in National Fibre Optic Network programme, Digital India: Jaitley

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NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday, that the National Optical Fibre Network Programme (NOFNP) of 7.5 lakh kms networking 2.5 lakh villages is being further speeded up by allowing willing states to undertake its execution, on reimbursement of cost as determined by Department of Telecommunications.

Andhra Pradesh is the first state to have opted for this manner of implementation. 

Jaitley also said that the ‘Digital India’ programme had been announced to take technology from grassroot to the space and make India a knowledge and innovation based society with broadband connectivity being taken to all villages.

He said in his budget for 2015-16 that India has a well-regarded and world-class IT industry with revenues of about $150 billion, over $100 billion of exports, employing nearly 40 lakh people directly. The country was ‘now seeing a growing interest in start-ups.’

“Experimenting in cutting edge technologies, creating value out of ideas and initiatives and converting them into scalable enterprises and businesses is at the core of our strategy for engaging our youth and for inclusive and sustainable growth of the country. Concerns such as a more liberal system of raising global capital, incubation facilities in our Centres of Excellence, funding for seed capital and growth, and ease of doing business etc. need to be addressed to create lakhs of jobs and hundreds of billion dollars in value,” he said.

With this objective, the government will establish a mechanism to be known as SETU (Self-Employment and Talent Utilisation). SETU will be a Techno-Financial, Incubation and Facilitation Programme to support all aspects of start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology-driven areas. Jaitley set aside Rs 1,000 crore initially in NITI Aayog for this purpose.

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