IT Taskforce
IT Action Plan (Part III)
Long Term National IT Policy


114. A National Technology Mission, 'Project Sankhya Vahini' will be commissioned for establishing a very high bandwidth All India National data network and enrich it with educational, healthcare and other knowledge oriented multimedia applications for supporting the technological and economic growth of the nation. This network will be primarily a data network forming the National Backbone, and will initially connect at least 10 metropolitan centers and over 100 universities, institutions of higher learning and research centers. As the speed of the network will be more than 1000-10,000 times the speed currently available in the country, it will not only be able to meet the research, teaching and learning requirements of educational institutions, but also the high bandwidth data communication needs of other organizations in the commercial, manufacturing and financial sectors. This is especially opportune as India is fast emerging as a major global player in computer software. To continue growth in this area of Information Technology, the country needs to equip itself with the latest communications strategies and make available to the nation the high data rates and quality of service guarantees. More than meeting the immediate and fast growing requirements of the country, Sankhya Vahini will also provide the testbed for developing and proving multi-giga bit technologies that will soon become the norm throughout the world in the next decade. The network will be set up in phases with the first two phases consisting of the following:

  1. Create a National Internet Backbone by freeing a few fibers exclusively for this program from the existing Department of Telecommunications (DoT) network to support a bandwidth in the range of 10 GBPS or more. The proposed bandwidths dedicated exclusively for data would place India on par with the US and other advanced technological nations in the world.

  2. Set up a series of Urban Data Networks (UrbanLinks) linked to the National Backbone. This would be implemented by freeing a few existing fibers for this network, and by laying additional fibers with enhanced bandwidth capability. These networks will provide scalable high speed connection points and would support access to a wide range of end-users.

The National Backbone will reach major urban centers and towns and be available to schools, universities and also to commercial establishments such as financial institutions, industrial houses and software companies. It would then become possible to access educational, training and digital libraries providing content that are available from universities around the world and also from outstanding educational and research institutions in India. An easy, guaranteed and affordable access to the network can accelerate the development of applications for distance learning, job-oriented training, upgrading and re-orientation of skills, healthcare, training of educators, and numerous other novel applications.

The business plan of the mission will be along the following lines

1. IUNet Mission: Sankhya Vahini

IUNet (India)’s mission will be to establish, manage and sustain a state-of-the art National Internet Backbone, viz., Sankhya Vahini. IUNet will interconnect various users including universities, schools, hospitals, businesses, and manufacturing and financial institutions of the nation and will provide for their educational, training, healthcare, and other novel application needs requiring high bandwidth.

2. The Network

While details of the Business Plan and network design are still being developed, it is estimated that the program will build a network topology of approximately 16,000 kilometers with 8 to 10 Nodes located at major cities and 25 high bandwidth Points of Presence (POPs), extendable to 100. The bandwidth of Sankhya Vahini will be in multi gigabits and continuously upgraded to stay at the cutting edge of technology.

3. Customers

Customers of IUNet (India) would include educational institutions, research organizations, private and public business establishments and financial institutions needing high bandwidth connectivity. In the future, users may possibly include Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who provide services to individual and commercial customers of multimedia, educational and training content.

4. Project Cost

While the cost of the project will vary based on the analysis of the existing network and the types of technology components required, along with detailed calculation of the operating costs involved, it is estimated that the capital expenditure will be as follows:

Creating National Backbone Rs. 200 crores
Development of UrbanLinks Rs. 400 crores

5. Project Time-frame

It is recommended that the implementation of the Mission is completed within one year.