Claim: “I have been told that the Indian government has 28,000 crore in its fund, which it has not used for anything. It should have been used to push telecom sector’s growth in rural areas."

Who: Narendra Modi, Gujarat chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate.

When: At the Cybermedia ICT (information and communications technology) Awards function in New Delhi on 17 January.

Check: He is right.

Modi’s reference is to the universal service obligation fund (USOF), which is dedicated to building and maintaining towers and network in financially unviable areas to provide last mile connectivity. It is a fund that gets money from a portion of the licence fee that telecom companies pay the government. Currently, the fund is being used for the National Broadband Plan and the National Optical Fibre Network. The fund does not have any allocated expenditure and is used on a case-to-case basis following a tendering process. Of the 52,000 crore collected since the fund was created in 2002-03, 28,221 crore is yet to be allocated and used.

Source: Department of telecommunications (DoT)

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