Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said the Centre is planning to lay optical fibre cables in all border areas to mitigate the connectivity problems faced by defence personnel and the civilian population.
The Union cabinet's sanction for additional funds had come 10 days ago, the minister said.
"We will soon start work on the extension of optical fibre cables in border areas. The Union cabinet had discussed the issue and sanctioned the additional fund only 10 days ago," the minister asserted while speaking of the achievements of the four-year-old Narendra Modi government.
"Soon, all the border areas along the Indo-China border will be connected with OFC, which will greatly improve the mobile and telephone connectivity besides improve radio frequency," she told reporters.
Sitharaman was told during a recent visit to Kibithoo, the last border village in Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh, that the people of the area could not access All India Radio due to poor frequency. They could access only Chinese radio frequency and the area had poor mobile network.
Responding to a question on empowerment of women in border areas by recruiting them in defence forces, the minister said women in the country were working as fighter plane pilots and the government was trying to recruit them in other areas too.
"Those women who have not got permanent commission have approached the court for their rights and the matter is now sub-judice. However, I am considering how to give permanent commission to women in defence forces," she added.
Asked about the government's stand on media reports about mining activities by China near Arunachal territory, Sitharaman said, "I have to get the details of it. I too saw the report in media but I cannot comment based on that at this point of time."
According to the minister, the country had notched up remarkable achievements with the introduction of one rank one pension for defence personnel, the modernization of defence forces and also carried out a surgical strike -- against Pakistan in 2016.
Highlighting the achievements of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre in the last 48 months through a power point presentation, she said India accounts for 55 per cent of new bank accounts globally between 2014 and 2017 according to the World Bank Findex report.
About 31.52 crore accounts were opened in the country under the Jan Dhan Yojana, proving that the NDA government at the Centre had ensured better life for all, she added.
"Under the Prime Minister's Jeevan Jyoti Beema Yojana around 13.25 crore people in the country were insured and about one crore people subscribed to Atal Pension Yojana," she said.
Under the Direct Bank Transfer scheme, Rs 3,65,996 crore was directly transferred to bank accounts under 431 schemes. The GDP of the country increased by 31 per cent between 2013 and 2017 while global GDP increased by only 14 per cent, she said.
Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, she added, over 3.6 lakh villages in 17 states were declared open defecation free while 83 per cent sanitation coverage was achieved in 2018, up from 38 per cent in 2014.
The government had also ensured food security for more than 80 crore people in all the 36 states and union territories of the country as against just 14 states during 2014, she said.
Sitharaman said the government had focused on farmers by introducing programmes like per drop more crop, e markets and containing pilferage of fertilizers.
The government was also harnessing 'yuva shakti' by transforming education. It was overhauling the school education apparatus, creating self-employment avenues and furthering sports and sportsmanship through the Khelo India initiative, she added.
The government, the minister said, had realized India's full potential through women-led development by introducing various programmes and schemes.
The minister also highlighted all the achievements in the social sector, health and infrastructure development besides efforts of the government in eliminating corruption and controlling black money.