Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that the project to connect India's over six lakh villages with optical fibre network will be completed in the next 1,000 days.
Besides, a high speed internet connectivity via submarine optical fibre cable will be extended to Lakshadweep in this period, he said.
In his address to the nation on India's 74th Independence Day, he pointed out that only five dozen panchayats in the country were connected with optical fibre cable by 2014, the year his government came to power for the first time.
In the last five years, 1.5 lakh village panchayats have been connected with optical fibre cable, Modi said.
He also announced that a new policy on cyber security will be unveiled shortly, saying the nation's dependence on the cyber world has increased in the changed circumstances, an apparent reference to the upheavals brought in by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that this has spawned its own dangers to development and economy.
He said the country is witnessing expansion of roads and internet at unprecedented and rapid speed, from the peaks of Himalayas to islands in the Indian Ocean.
"In the next 1,000 days, all villages in the country will be connected with optical fibre," he said, adding Lakshadweep too would be connected with submarine optical fibre cable within this period.
Modi recently inaugurated the first ever undersea optical fibre cable project for Andaman and Nicobar Islands which will provide high speed broadband connections in the union territory at par with services in the mainland.
He had laid the foundation for 2,312-km Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Islands (CANI) connecting submarine optical fibre cable project on December 30, 2018.
"Our country has more than 1300 islands. Work is on to start new development projects in some select islands, considering their geographical locations and importance in the the nation's development," he said.
"Road network and Internet connectivity is now expanding at an unprecedented pace; be it in Himalayas or Indian Ocean islands," he said.
Enhanced digital connectivity has proved to be of big help, especially in including villages in India's development journey, he said.
Our priority has changed with circumstances, the prime minister said, outlining his government's focus to boost cyber connectivity.
Referring to the digital India, he said the importance of the mission has been realised during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In the last month only, transactions worth about Rs 3 lakh crore took place through BHIM UPI alone," he said.
During the lockdown period, digital transactions witnessed a huge surge.