Harish Jharia

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08 August 2012

Indian Government Planning To Provide One Mobile Phone Each to All BPL Families and 200 Minutes of Talk Time For Free


Indian BPL people: need food not mobiles
               (Photo Courtesy IBN Live)

© Harish Jharia 

There are strong indications across the media that the Indian Government is going to implement their scheme worth Rs. 7000 crore for providing one Mobile Phone each to the families living below the poverty line (BPL) along with 200 minutes of local calls worth Rs. 100 for free. 

The scheme is expected to be called as ‘Har Hath Mein Phone’ is scheduled to be announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the 65th Independence Day (August 15, 2012). This scheme will help (?) 28 million poor people (6 million families) across the Indian republic to have a mobile phone connection for free.

As per some sources, 50% cost of “Har Hath Mein Phone” scheme will be funded from the Department of Telecommunication’s Universal Service Obligation (USO) funds and the rest of the cost is likely to be provided by the bidder who gets the right to provide mobile phone service and the USO fund. The USO fund is meant for providing access to phone services to people in rural and remote areas at affordable prices.

This is a clear case of wasting hard earned money of Indian citizens collected from them as compulsory taxes. Indian people below poverty line (BPL) neither have jobs to earn their livelihood nor do they have food to eat. The government should provide bread, clothes and shelter for them rather than tossing mobile phones at them as alms of charity. 

Mobile phones have no utility for the BPL people. These instruments will surely find their ways into the hands of the well-to-do people via grey market.

If the government is planning to extract money from the service provider for this scheme, then it is sure that the affected telecommunication company will compensate the losses from other common users by enhancing tariffs or by providing substandard services. 

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