New Delhi: The Cabinet on Wednesday approved provision of Submarine Optical Fibre Cable Connectivity between mainland (Kochi) and Lakshadweep Islands. The 11 islands that will be covered include- Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Minicoy, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kilthan and Kadmat. Also Read - Govt To Shut Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India (HHEC), Employees Can Opt For VRS

The estimated cost of implementation will be about Rs. 1072 crore including operational expenses for 5 years. The Project would be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund, a PIB press release said. Also Read - Cabinet Approves Rs 8575 cr East-West Corridor Metro Project in Kolkata, Reforms in Natural Gas Sector | Full Details

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1) The submarine connectivity project will have vital role for delivery of e-Governance services at the doorstep of citizens, potential development of fisheries, coconut based industries and high-value tourism, educational development in term of tele-education and in health care in terms of telemedicine facilities.

2) It will help in establishment of numerous businesses, augment e-commerce activities and provide adequate support to educational institutes for knowledge sharing. The Lakshadweep Islands have the potential to become a hub of logistic services.

3) This will play a major role in the growth of telecom  infrastructure in the area, which in turn, will boost the economic and social development.

4)Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) has been nominated as Project Execution Agency and Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd. (TCIL) as the Technical Consultant of the Project to assist Universal Service Obligation Fund, Department of Telecommunications. The ownership of the asset under the project will rest with USOF, the funding agency, under DoT. The project is targeted to be completed by May 2023, the press release by the government said.

5) Lakshadweep comprising a number of Islands is situated in the Arabian Sea and of immense strategic significance for India. Provision of secure, robust, reliable and affordable Telecom facilities is of utmost importance for the people living in these islands as also from a strategic point of view for the whole country.

6) Presently only medium of providing telecom connectivity to Lakshadweep is through satellites, but the bandwidth available is limited to 1 Gbps. Lack of bandwidth is a major constraint in providing data services, which is a pre-requisite for providing e-governance, e-education, e-banking etc. for inclusive growth of society.