The Union Cabinet today
approved the proposal for change in funding arrangement for the
Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) schemes, including the funding
of the scheme for creation of National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) from
Non-Plan to Plan allocation in Budget.
The proposal of Department of Telecommunications was based on the advice
of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance wherein it
was suggested that the funding of USOF schemes including the scheme for
creation of National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) should continue to be
financed out of the Plan allocation for better appraisal, monitoring and
performance evaluation. Accordingly the Note dated 4th October 2012 was
submitted for approval of the Cabinet, for reverting to the earlier
arrangement for allocation through Plan Head, as implemented by the
Ministry of Finance from the financial year 2011-12 onwards.
Earlier the Department proposed to restore the budgetary allocations
towards USOF expenditure under Non-Plan Budget to avoid procedural
delays and ensure timely allocation of funds, while submitting the
proposal regarding scheme for creation of the National Optical Fiber
Network (NOFN) for Broadband connectivity to Panchayats, which was
approved by Cabinet in October 2011.