digital connectivity of all post offices in the country is top priority
for the Government, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Lok
Sabha here on Monday.
to questions related to his Ministry, Prasad said the Prime Minister
was personally monitoring a host of departments and postal services were
one of them.
“The Prime Minister spent about one-and-a half–hours on the postal
has given suggestions, which will be considered,” he said, in reply to a
query by Biju Janata Dal’s Tathagata Satapathy on the status of the
banking licence applied for by the postal department.Prasad
said there was need for reforms in postal reforms as also upgradation
of Grameen Dak Ghar Services, catering to the rural population.
Prasad said the Government’s priority was also to improve BSNL services.
Responding to a question raised by
Congress MP Ashok Chavan on poor mobile network in Naxal-affected
regions in Maharashtra, Prasad said mobile networks, under the Universal
Service Obligation Fund (USOF) scheme in such areas are likely to be
set up in 15 months.
A proposal to install mobile towers
at 1,836 locations in nine States affected by Left Wing Extremism with
funding support from USOF has already been approved, he added.
The Minister said Bharat Sanchar
Nigam Ltd (BSNL) had installed mobile towers at 363 locations for which
financial support to meet operational expenses would be provided through
On a question on lack of diesel
supplies to BSNL mobile towers leading to their non-functionality and
affecting security, he admitted there were concerns on diesel supply and
“there is scope for improvement“.
The idea of using solar power for
telecom towers was also being looked into, especially in the hilly
regions of North East, Prasad said.
Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had a word of advice for Telecom Minister
Ravi Shankar Prasad. Taking note of the number of questions that MPs
had for the Minister, especially about postal services and post offices,
she told the Minister, “A lot of people want to raise questions on the issues. You should pay more attention to the postal department.”The
Minister on his part announced that the government had decided to open
80 Gramin Dak Sewa Post Offices and 80 sub post offices in the country
under Rural Business and Access to Postal Network scheme.