AshokGehlot

1.35 crore women have access to smartphones – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

Jaipur: Amid controversy surrounding the culture of ‘Rewari’ or free gifts, the Rajasthan government is set to give Rs 1.35 crore smartphones free to women in the state on the fourth anniversary of the Ashok Jelot government on December 17.

Mobile phones will be distributed to female heads of household who are part of the health scheme called Chiranjeevi Yojna. The phone will be provided with a back cover, charger and data transfer cable bearing the Gehlot Government logo. The special feature is that only a government activated SIM will work on free smartphones.

Free smartphones will cost the country Rs 12,000 crore in three years. The government claims the plan aims to empower women, but critics see it as a move to reach out to women voters ahead of next year’s General Assembly elections.

Beneficiaries will get free internet access for three years. The price of each mobile phone is said to be around Rs 9,500 and the state government has allocated Rs 12,000 crore for the scheme. Sources say that if the state government gets the shipment of the smartphone on time, the beneficiaries will start getting it from the end of this month.

Under Chiranjeevi Yojana, the government provides health insurance facility of Rs 10,000 per family and it is necessary to have an Aadhaar card to be linked to a mobile number. The smartphones will be distributed in special camps where Airtel, Jio and BSNL officials will activate the SIM cards.

Government officials said that three companies were chosen to supply smartphones because only one company could meet the required demand. The phones will be from Jio, Samsung, and Nokia, and up to 20GB of free 4GB data will be available on phones each month. In addition, 50 free SMS per day and free calling facilities will be provided, the officials said.

Under the scheme, Jan Soochna, E-Mitra, E-Dharti and Raj Sampark apps have been developed and will be installed on smartphones. Principal Secretary Akhil Arora said the government has trained four women self-help groups – known as Digital Sakhis – in each village to teach most of the beneficiaries how to use smartphones.

The government will also put wallpapers on these phones detailing its plans that mobile phone holders will not be able to change. Also, apps that are to be installed by the government cannot be deleted. The government will also send the backgrounds of their schemes and a special app will be installed for each issue related to women.

The state government has trained Digital Sakhis
Principal Secretary Akhil Arora said the government has trained four women self-help groups – known as Digital Sakhis – in each village to teach most of the beneficiaries how to use smartphones. The phones will be from Jio, Samsung, and Nokia, and up to 20GB of free 4GB data will be available on phones each month. In addition, 50 free SMS per day and free calling facilities will be provided, the officials said