Centre to distribute Free Mobile Phones, Tablets!
The UPA government is planning to distribute free mobile phones and tablets to woo the poor over next four years. The idea could be ‘Great’ for the beneficiaries, but the Centre has to spend a huge amount during the slow economy if the scheme is implemented.
As per the report, the targeted beneficiaries will be given free connection charges for two years for mobile phones. However, the user will pay a one-time charge of Rs 300 to get 30 minutes of talk time, 30 SMSes, and 30 Mb of data usage free per month. The scheme will be applicable to poor people in rural areas.
Similarly, the tablets will be given to poor students of class XI and XII targeting poor both rural and urban populations. The users will get free data card connection for two years. The service provider will give a free package of 75 minutes talk time, 75 SMSes and 500 MB data usage every month.
The proposal needs a nod from the telecom commission and the Union Cabinet for its implementation in the coming days. Report said that the scheme will be implemented by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).
The government aims to distribute 25 lakh mobile phones and 15 lakh tablets at the cost of Rs 395 crore and Rs 772.5 crore respectively in the first year. In the second year, 50 lakh phones and 35 lakh tablets will be given for which the government will spend Rs 880 crore and Rs 1,858.75 crore, respectively. Similarly, 75 lakh phones and 40 lakh tablets will be given at an expenditure of Rs 1,365 crore and 2,191.25 crore in the third year. And in the fourth year, the programme will cost the department of telecommunication (DoT) Rs 150 crore in providing the tablets with data card connections and Rs 1,850 crore in distributing the mobile phones.