New Delhi: The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal allowing land owned by the defence ministry to be used by mobile operators for construction of telecom towers and allied infrastructure.

The government, in a statement, said the cabinet approved a proposal for revision of defence ministry policy to allow such land to be used for the construction of shared communication towers and allied infrastructure. The revised policy will cover allotment of defence land on lease and grant of permission in defence areas and cantonments to access service licensees and companies registered with the department of telecommunications.

Information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that the move will improve the quality of communication services in cantonment and military areas. It has also been a long- pending demand of telecom operators.

Prasad said the government has also decided to finalise a new electronic policy, a new policy on internet of things, a new e-commerce policy, a new software product policy and a new cloud computing policy very soon.

In another decision, the cabinet has given retrospective approval for enhancing the superannuation age of doctors from 62 years to 65 years.

The decision would be applicable to doctors including dentists working with Indian Railways Medical Service, central universities and other higher educational institutions, ports and other government services.

The government said the decision would help provide better patient care and effective implementation of national programmes for delivery of health care services. The move will benefit around 1,445 doctors working under various ministries of the Central government.

The government claimed that decision will not have much of a financial implication as a large numbers of posts are vacant and the incumbents would continue to work in their existing capacity against sanctioned posts.

“The decision will strengthen health services in the country and the services of experienced doctors shall be available to bring quality health services to the people. It will also help in retaining the existing strength of experienced doctors thereby providing better patient care satisfaction," said J.P. Nadda, minister of health and family welfare.

“This is a strong signal that the Government is taking all steps to enhance services/service delivery. This would also help in improving doctor-patient ratio in the country," he added.

Amrit Raj contributed to this story.

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