India to run optic fibre to 450,000 villages in 1,000 days and give 1.3bn a digital Health ID

Which may be why PM Narendra Modi has also announced a cyber security policy

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Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has marked the nation’s Independence Day by pledging to connect all of India’s villages to optic fibre within 1,000 days.

In his speech to the nation, Modi said than in 2014 just five dozen villages enjoyed optic fibre connections, but in the five years since another 150,000 have been connected.

Now he wants all villages connected inside three years.

“In these changing times it is essential that Rural India is also brought under the ambit of Digital India,” he said, explaining “a surge in the demand of online facilities among the rural population” as the reason for the new rollout.

The government has therefore decided to complete the rollout to 600,000 villages within 1,000 days.

If the government can hit that deadline, the nation will be wired just over a year before its next national election. Make of that what you will.

Modi’s speech included a likely reason for that rapid rollout, in the form of a new “National Digital Health Mission” that will see every Indian given a Health ID that will “work like a Health Account of every Indian. This account will contain your details of every test, every disease, the doctors you visited, the medicines you took and the diagnosis. When and what was the report, all such information will be incorporated in the Health ID.”

Perhaps because the Health ID will create a fabulous trove of data, Modi also announced that India’s new cyber security policy is nearly ready for release.

“In this era of technology, our dependence on cyberspace is going to increase multifold,” Modi said. “However, cyberspace offers its own risks and threats.”

“India is very cautious and is planning to take steps to combat these risks. Not only this, new systems are continuously being developed. In a short span of time, a draft of new cyber security policy would be presented to the nation. In the coming times, we will have to integrate everything and then work within the framework of this cyber security.”

Modi’s speech also made many mentions of India’s plans to become self-sufficient for many different types of technology, both in terms of development and manufacturing. ®

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