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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has planned to give free mobile phones to over 5.5 million people within two-and-a-half-years in the state.
Under the Chhattisgarh Communication Revolution Scheme (SKY), the highest priority of Chief Minister Raman Singh, a plan of Rs 230 crore has been prepared in order to provide free mobile phones to 5,560,000 people within two-and-a-half-years in the state.
Out of this, 5,080,000 beneficiaries will be distributed mobile phones in the current financial year 2017-18 and the next financial year 2018-19.
These will include 5,100,000 students of technical and non-technical colleges, including 4,010,000 rural beneficiaries and 560,000 urban poor. In the first phase, it is estimated to cost Rs 1,128 crore.
The remaining 480,000 families will be given mobile phones in the financial year 2019-20, which will cost an estimated Rs 102 crore.
In an announcement, Chief Minister Raman Singh informed that the Department of Electronics and Information Technology of the State Government has started preparations for the implementation of the scheme.
"The department has issued a notification for the Chhattisgarh Communication Revolution scheme from the ministry (Mahanadi Bhawan) here," said the officials.
They further said that the implementation of the scheme will be done through the 'chips' of the state government's electronics and information technology institute.
In the notification, it is informed that under this scheme, free phones will be provided to the youth of every rural household, urban poor families, and colleges.
In case of a woman in the family, this phone will be given to the woman only. The plan will be implemented in two phases.
The officials said that in the first phase, all the villages having a population of more than one thousand and villages with less than one thousand people will be included in the current fiscal year 2017-18 and in the next financial year 2018-19, where presently mobile phones coverage is available fully or partially.
Smartphones will be provided to the rural families, urban poor families, and college youth.
In the second phase of the plan, which will be in the year of 2019-20, villages with less than one thousand population will be covered, where mobile phone coverage is not available.
All the families of these villages will be given smartphones. The women head of each rural family and female head of every urban poor family and college youth will be included in the scheme.
The telecom service providers will try to expand the network at their own expense. The beneficiary will be given a smartphone, while their phone number will be allotted before, and will also be linked to the base and bank account, which will encourage the beneficiary to keep its phone steady.
As per the Communication Revolution plan, the youth will be able to get self-employment on mobile phone repair and maintenance work in rural areas of Chhattisgarh.
The main objective of this scheme is to provide government services to the general public through the general service centres and extension of banking services through availability and access.
Apart from this, the benefits of government and private services through smartphones can be easily availed by the citizen and their participation in governance is also the purpose of this scheme.