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Chhattisgarh Giving Free Smartphones to the Poor

Free Smartphones to the Poor
Chhattisgarh, a state in central India, has always lacked decent mobile connectivity. Smartphones would be useless in poor communities where there is no wireless coverage. So Chief Minister Raman Singh has been working alongside mobile and electrical companies to expand Chhattisgarh’s network.

In March 2017, Singh announced, while presenting the state budget, a plan to distribute 4.5 million free smartphones to the poor citizens of the state. The annual budget for 2017-18 is up 7.6% from the previous year, providing the state with enough funds to execute its generous plan.

In June 2016, Singh met with state-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and urged it to install 1,600 mobile towers throughout the state to increase telecom connectivity. The company agreed to install more than 2,000 towers in two years. These new towers will extend the state’s 27 wifi spots with 220 more.

Singh also began the Bastar Net project last year. Singh wishes to increase mobile and Internet access across the Bastar region, an area that has been hit by recent rebellions. The project will include laying an 832-kilometer optical fiber cable, making a ring-network mechanism. Singh believes that this project will enhance government services in the area along with developing a knowledge-based society in Bastar.

Homegrown technology company Smartron signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chhattisgarh government this month to change the state’s technological infrastructure by manufacturing smart technology. The company is looking to become India’s first original equipment manufacturer, which will bring a boost in manufacturing and jobs in the country. Smartron’s understanding with the Chhattisgarh government will allow it to expand its services in the areas of health, home, education, energy and more.

With an expanded wireless network and an increase in smart technology manufacturing, Chhattisgarh’s goal of providing free smartphones to the poor can be achieved. With new smart technology, the poor could have unlimited internet access and connectivity with the world around them.

Hannah Kaiser

Photo: Flickr