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Indian Govt nearly doubles defence communications network budget to Rs 24K

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The government has nearly doubled the budget to Rs 24,664 crore for NFS project which entails rolling out an advanced communications network for defence services in lieu of their vacating spectrum for mobile telephony.

The budget for the Network For Spectrum (NFS) project has been raised by Rs 11,330 crore, an official statement said on Wednesday.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "has given its approval for enhancement of budget by Rs 11,330 crore for NFS project for laying of alternate communication network for Defence Services for release of spectrum over and above Rs 13,334 crore already approved by Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure in July, 2012", it said.

The defence ministry and the Department of Telecom had signed a pact in 2009-10 under which the former had agreed to vacate 25 MHz of 3G spectrum and 20 MHz in the 2G band in phases.

In return, DoT had committed to set up an exclusive defence network for its communication services.

Being implemented by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), the project will be completed in 24 months, the statement said.

It will boost the communication capabilities of defence forces in a major way leading to enhanced national operational preparedness, it said.

Besides, the project will have forward linkages to other related industries such as telecom equipment manufacturing and related services, it added.

When contacted, BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava told PTI, "The work is going on for laying of optical fibre cable of 57,000 km for the Army and 3,000 km for navy. The physical layer is in place to the extent of 90 per cent and now the electronics elements like network management system, security and other aspects will be put in."

While advance purchase orders have been placed for network management system and some other parts, tenders are being finalised for certain segments, Shrivastava said.

BSNL is the implementing as well as the monitoring agency for the project which is "currently in full swing", he added.

The Telecom Commission, in January this year, had approved raising the cost of NFS project, to Rs 24,664 crore (by about Rs 11,300 higher) and the decision was thereafter sent to the Cabinet for final clearance.

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India  Govt  Defence  NFS  Budget  BSNL  
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