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‘Smart Gram Panchayat: Revolution towards Digitization of Gram Panchayat’

Why is it in the news?

  • The Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) launched the ‘Smart Gram Panchayat’ pilot project to advance digitalization in rural governance.

 About the Smart Gram Panchayat Project

  • The project aims to extend the Prime Minister’s WiFi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) service to all gram panchayats across the Begusarai district in Bihar.
  • This initiative falls under the revamped Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and is implemented by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR).
  • The primary goal is to digitize gram panchayats, enhancing connectivity and bridging the rural-urban divide.
  • By enhancing connectivity, the project aims to improve access to online services in crucial sectors like health, education, and skilling.
  • The project seeks to create employment opportunities, enhance the disposable incomes of small and medium entrepreneurs, and contribute to the boost of the country’s GDP.


Components of PM-WANI Scheme

·       Public Data Office (PDO): Entities responsible for establishing, maintaining, and operating PM-WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots, delivering broadband services to subscribers.

·       Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): These entities provide aggregation services such as authorization and accounting to PDOs.

·       App Provider: Developers who create apps for registering users and discovering WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots for accessing internet services.

·       Central Registry: Maintains details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. Currently, it is managed by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT).


Concerns with PM-WANI Scheme

·       Security Threats: The extensive network of public WiFi hotspots may be susceptible to security threats, potentially compromising user data and privacy.

·       Potential Increase in Internet Prices: Encouraging private sector innovation within the PM-WANI scheme may lead to an increase in internet prices for users.

·       Slowdown in Connection Speed: There are concerns about a potential slowdown in connection speeds, particularly if the infrastructure is not adequately developed or if there is congestion in certain areas due to a high volume of users.

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