Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday said Internet subscribers may reach the 500 million mark in the country next year.
"India currently has 400 million Internet subscribers. Earlier, I have said about the target to reach 500 million users in two years but now it looks that the 500 million mark is likely to be achieved next year," Prasad said during a discussion on "Integration of SC/ ST entrepreneurs: Digital and Skill India" in New Delhi.
Speaking about the 'Digital India' programme, he said the government will connect 250,000 gram panchayats with optic fibre in coming years. He also spoke on the concept of 'digital village', where one block in every state will be selected to ensure that technology can be used to deliver education and healthcare services.
Under digital village, the focus will be upon four things: e-education, telemedicine having linkage of primary health centres with district hospital, resource centre as a virtual classroom including training in all gap areas and LED light at the centre of village along with Wi-Fi, he added.
Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in November had said, "Currently, India has the third largest Internet user base in the world but it is estimated that by December, India will overtake the US (as the second largest base). China currently leads with more than 600 million Internet users," it said.
In other news, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said India Post would be launching its payment bank by March 2017.
Written with agency inputs