hiddenDec 24, 2015 08:11:33 IST
As many as 55,669 villages are still without mobile telephony services, the government told Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the current level of rural and urban teledensity stood at 48.79 percent and 152.36 percent, respectively, at the end of September.
"541,939 villages out of total 597,608 villages in the country are already covered with mobile services, leaving only 55,669 villages ie. 9.31 percent without coverage," the Minister said during Question Hour.
There are 597,608 inhabited villages. Asserting that the government's endeavour is to ensure telecom connectivity, Prasad said that since demand for telecom services is price sensitive, the level of teledensity is also determined by the purchasing ability of the consumers.
"The increase in rural teledensity has gathered momentum in recent times but the wide gap between rural and urban teledensity can be explained by the difference in purchasing power of rural and urban consumers," he said.
The National Telecom Policy has the set the objectives of increasing rural teledensity to 70 percent by 2017 and 100 percent by 2020. Several measures are being taken to improve telecommunication services, Prasad said, adding "2,199 mobile towers are being set up in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected states with a total estimated cost of Rs. 3,567.58 crores."
He said 1,134 mobile towers are radiating as on November 30, 2015.
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