Smartphones for Punjab youth soon

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh

The Punjab Congress, in its bid to fulfill a poll promise, will soon give smartphones to youth.

However, smartphones will not be given to youth who already possess one. The youth would be required to submit self-certification stating that they do not already possess a smartphone.

A meeting of the Punjab state Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday approved the modalities for the distribution of the smartphones. Graduating students of government schools, colleges and technical institutions will be covered in the first phase of the scheme. 

The scheme, which the government says will give an impetus to the state government’s digital empowerment agenda, will provide for distribution of mobile phones with various smart features, including touch screen, camera and latest applications. In addition, a one-time bundled 12 GB data and 600 minutes local talk time (voice) with one-year validity would also be provided under the scheme.

The Punjab Information and Communication Technology Corporation has floated a tender for the smartphones. The first batch of phones is expected to be distributed in March, sources said.

The name of the scheme is yet to be decided. The decision to roll out smartphones for youth will create extra financial burden to the ex-chequer in cash-strapped Punjab.

The state government is already implementing a loan waiver scheme for debt-ridden small and marginal farmers, which has resulted in colossal drain of money.

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Smartphones for Punjab youth soon

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