Has BharatNet fulfilled its end task of providing functional internet?
The status of the BharatNet project and the government's claims need to be taken with a large dose of salt
On 28 April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Twitter that all 597,464 Indian villages now have access to electricity. However, if any of us are aware of the ground realities, we know that thousands of “electrified" villages lie in darkness for more than 20 hours a day. “Linking a village to the power grid" simply means that basic distribution infrastructure is in place, electric cables have been laid in public institutions, and 10% of the households are “electrified". While the announcement was a milestone, it is not one that should be celebrated just yet. Setting up infrastructure but shrugging their responsibility of providing functional services has been a long-running game of successive Indian governments.