The State Government will soon be adding 63,000 new beneficiaries in the ‘Sanchar Kranti Yojana’, officials informed.
The 63,000 new beneficiaries include 30,000 beneficiaries from National Rural Livelihood Mission besides 27,000 lawyers and 6,000 third gender beneficiaries.
Under this scheme, Chief Minister Raman Singh had earlier launched the free smart phone distribution.
The registration of all the new beneficiaries will start next week.
It may be recalled that President Ram Nath Kovind had inaugurated the scheme during his visit to Chhattisgarh about one-and-half months back from Jagdalpur in Bastar.
About 40 lakh women beneficiaries under the scheme will be receiving smart phones.
Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion Society (CHiPS) CEO Alex Paul Menon informed that more than 12 lakh phones out of 40 have already been distributed.
At the college level, five lakh phones will be distributed to the students and the distribution will start on September 23.
The increased mobile penetration through Chhattisgarh Sanchar Kranti Yojna (CG-SKY) will also help the state leverage it as spinoff for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, officials informed.
The DBT scheme will lead to better targetting of beneficiaries. Cutting out leakage will lead to savings that may even be enough to help recover the cost of CG-SKY scheme, they informed.
The State was earlier unable to make much headway in DBT because of its low mobile penetration, officials informed.
The poor connectivity is attributable largely to some unique realities in Chhattisgarh relating to poor affordability of the people and economic viability for the operators.
The Northern districts of Surguja and the Southern districts of Bastar division have a difficult, hilly terrain. Besides, 48% of Surguja and 56% of Bastar are forested.
As a result of the terrain, these two divisions are also sparsely populated. Compared to the national average of 382, Chhattisgarh has a population density of 189 per sq km.
Six districts in Bastar and Surguja have a population density of less than 100 per sq km. Narayanpur has population density of just 20 per sq kms.
Approximately a third of the State’s population is tribal. According to telecom operators, the above reasons lead to lack of critical mass required for economic viability for providing telecom services.
Therefore, improving the mobile penetration in the State by distributing a mobile phone to each rural household through PDS will help alleviate this gap and bring them into the mainstream, officials stated.
Provision for budget for the scheme is to be made available in State Budget or other sources to the Department of Information Technology.
The Department will further provide the budget to the CHiPS for implementation of the scheme, they stated.
CHiPS will be responsible to provide Utilisation Certificate for the funds disbursed to them for the implementation of the scheme. Provision for contingency and PMU would be made for meeting administration and management cost.
CHiPS would be able to spend this money on effective project management.