Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot on Wednesday said the Government had lifted restrictions on telecom companies to set up towers in border areas in order to improve mobile connectivity.

“The government recently lifted the restriction on telecom firms for setting up of telecom towers near international borders. Other than some areas in LoC (Line of Control), we will allow telecom players to set up towers near the borders,” Mr. Pilot told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on ‘Government flagship schemes: ICT -- a key enabler’ organised by FICCI and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Earlier, telecom service providers were not allowed to install towers to receive signals within 500 metres near the international border. Allaying concerns over interference, he said use of technology would help check interference from a foreign telecom network. State-run BSNL is already planning to erect 10,000 towers across the country, many of which would be installed in villages bordering Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Mr. Pilot exhorted the State governments to come on board in empowering the people with delivery of efficient government services through the use of common service centres.

“The IT revolution has not really touched the rural populace and it devolves on all the stakeholders, including State governments and the private sector, to ensure that IT reaches all the 6,500 villages through the use of the 1,000-odd common service centres,” he added.

Mr. Pilot said that the Department of Information Technology had completed the project for enabling the people to compute in the local language.

The department had developed software in all the 22 official Indian languages and was now in the process of giving the software free of cost to the people.

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