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Rajasthan Geo News: Rajasthan selects Geo and Airtel for ‘Mukhyamantri Digital Seva Yojana’

The Rajasthan government has selected Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel in a tender worth more than Rs 12,000 crore to provide internet access and free smartphones to heads of 13.3 million households in the state under the title ‘Mukhyamantri Digital Seva Yojana’, officials say.

Under the scheme, female heads of household who are registered with the Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme will receive smartphones with internet access for three years.

The country’s three telecom companies participated in the tender.

While the modalities of the deal are yet to be finalized by the state government’s delegated committee, informed officials said that the distribution of free smartphones will start from the second week of December. Officials said Samsung and HMD Nokia, in partnership with Reliance Jio, will supply the phones in three batches after the letter of intent is issued and the purchase order placed.

An official said that Jio will provide approximately 60% of the connections while Airtel will do the rest, partnering with Samsung.

Under the agreement, for a period of three years, Jio and Airtel will give each user a 4G connection with 20GB data per month along with unlimited voice calls.

Samsung’s chosen model is the Galaxy A03 Core priced at Rs 7,500, while Nokia will introduce one of its low-cost and entry-level models, and Reliance Jio will introduce a new 4G smartphone that is yet to be released in the market, according to an earlier cited official.

Chinese smartphone brands were not allowed to participate in the bid.

The smartphone’s primary SIM slot will be locked with the carrier while the second SIM slot will be unlocked for any other telecom service provider. Smartphones will be loaded with government schemes apps, including e-Mitra, a one-stop-shop app for availing all state government services, and Jan Kalyan app, a public welfare portal.

Our mission at Nokia Mobile Phones is to make mobile technology accessible to everyone. To further this agenda, we are in discussions with various state governments to ensure that Nokia Mobiles is part of building the country’s digital capabilities,” said Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, Vice President, India and MENA, HMD Global.

Distribution of mobile phones along with activated SIM cards will happen at the district and block level, facilitated by the district administration with instant eKYC. According to the tender, the telecom service provider will monitor the activations and submit a quarterly summary to the government, in which payment will be evaluated and processed.