The students have to submit self-certification stating that they do not already possess a smartphone
With the objective of providing digital access to youth and information regarding education, career opportunities, access to skill development and employment opportunities and basic citizen centric services through government applications, the Punjab government has decided to distribute smartphones among graduating students of government schools, colleges and technical institutions in the state. According to a state official, in the state Cabinet meeting which was held today, the Amarinder Singh-led government has approved the modalities for the distribution of the smartphones.
Indo-Asian News Service reported the move follows the promise to provide smartphones to youth, numbering around 50 lakh, which was made by the Congress party in its pre-poll manifesto before assembly elections in February 2017.
“The state cabinet, at its meeting on Wednesday, approved the modalities for the distribution of the smart phones, with graduating students of government schools, colleges and technical institutions to be covered in the first phase of the scheme,” according to an official spokesperson.
But, to get the smartphones, there are conditions.
According to the official, the students would be required to submit self-certification stating that they do not already possess a smartphone.
The scheme, which will give a further impetus to the state government’s digital empowerment agenda, will provide for distribution of mobile phones with various smart features, such as touch screen, camera and applications to access social media, the spokesperson said.
“In addition, one-time bundled 12 GB data & 600 local minutes talk time (voice) with one year validity would also be provided under the scheme,” he added.
The first batch of phones is expected to be distributed in March.
The Punjab government had announced a scheme named ‘Mobile Phone to the Youth’ in its budget for the Financial Year 2017-18.
The state government had appointed KPMG as the Project Management Consultant (PMC) at a cost of Rs. 72.19 lakh for the duration of the project.
In another related development yesterday, Mr Singh on Tuesday ordered filling up of 1.2 lakh vacant posts in various government departments in a phased but focused manner. The critical requirements of departments of health, education and medical education and research will be addressed in the first phase, he said. The directive came during a high-level meeting to review the progress of the state government’s flagship ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgar and Karobar Mission’ scheme.
The chief minister also directed the top bureaucrat to hold a meeting of administrative secretaries to work out the number of vacancies to be filled in various departments, he said