Government to provide free mobiles to families in villages and tablets to students

To increase the number of people with access to modern technologies and stay connected, the Indian Government would give free mobiles to families in villages and tablet PCs to students in government schools.


The proposal, which has already been approved by the Telecom Commission of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), is sent for cabinet approval. The scheme is expected to benefit 2.5 crore individuals in rural households while the free tablet programme would cover 90 lakh students in 11th and 12th classes.

The project which is expected to be implemented through state-run BSNL, would be jointly funded by the Department of Telecom and Universal Services Obligations Fund (USOF). The total cost of the tablets is pegged at Rs. 4972.5 crores of which USOF would fund 60 percent. While the tablets would be provided to all students, the mobile phone scheme would be valid only for MGNREGA workers and would cost the government Rs. 4850 crores.

The schemes are expected to start in March 2014 if approved by the cabinet, which has raised a few eyebrows as the general elections are expected around the same time. The mobile phones and tablet PCs are proposed to come with a warranty of three years.