A Rs 15,000 crore plan to augment telecom connectivity in the Northeast has been tentatively worked out by theNational Advisory Council.
A working group of the council, mandated with the task of providing answers to the challenges of the Northeast, has identified health, telecommunication, civil aviation, higher education and access to financial services as the major areas of concern for the region.
The working group held its two-day third consultation meeting, which concluded today, at the North Eastern Council (NEC) secretariat here. The previous two meetings were held in New Delhi.
Stating that without a strong telecom backbone, none of the other initiatives in health, education and other sectors can be implemented, the working group has proposed an international Internet gateway to Guwahati from Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. This is expected to boost Internet speed, NEC member P.P. Srivastava said.
The working group has also recommended augmenting the Internet network from IPv4 to IPv6.
Under this new generation connectivity, it has mooted providing 1000GBps of Internet connectivityfrom the trunk root to the capital of all states of the region. From the state capitals to the district headquarters, the speed would be around 40GBps and from the district headquarters to blocks it would be around 10GBps, he added.
"We need to develop and strengthen the core system first as a public utility service before embarking on the access system, which can be commercial in nature," he said. It could take around 18 months to strengthen the core system and another 54 months to develop the access system.
Srivastava, a retired IAS official, said a tentative plan of Rs 15,000 crore has been worked out to rejuvenate the telecom sector in the region.
Recently, the National Fibre Optic Network was created to provide fibre optic connectivity right up to every panchayat in the country in the next 18-24 months. This is expected to provide a better platform for all new initiatives of the state governments in the region.
The working group has also suggested to the Union telecom department to prepare a separate plan for the Northeast to improve connectivity.
Among its various recommendations, the working group has requested the Union health ministry to prepare a draft perspective plan exclusively for the Northeast during the Twelfth Plan to help focus on delivery in the healthcare sector.
The Union civil aviation ministry said a comprehensive study for better air connectivity in the region was under way and work would commence soon.
In higher education, the working group felt that faculty development in science and engineering with periodical service training was crucial.
It has also requested the Union finance ministry to prepare a separate inclusion plan for the Northeast.
The working group will prepare a draft report on the third consultation after which it will hold further deliberations.