A consortium of handset maker Micromax and telecom major Reliance Jio has bagged a ₹ 1,500 crore order from the Chhattisgarh government to distribute 50 lakh smartphones to women and students in the state.
Under the project, 45 lakh smartphones are being given to women and the remaining will be distributed to college students in the state, Micromax co-founder Vikas Jain told PTI.
“About 10,000 camps are being organised under the project and deliveries have already started. Every beneficiary, chosen by the state government, is handed the device personally after activating it with Reliance Jio connection. The authentication of the beneficiary is done using Aadhaar," he said.
Jain said the project covered a large part of the population and the company reserved space in 15 warehouses across the state to ensure timely distribution of the handsets to people. Chhattisgarh had a population of over 2.5 crore as per the 2011 census. The deal was signed earlier this year with distribution starting end of July.
“For carrying out the project, we hired about 2,000-2,500 temporary staff... We expect to complete deliveries to all beneficiaries in the next few weeks," he added.
Jain explained that the project “doesn’t appear to be politically motivated", given that it has taken months of planning and execution for all involved parties.
The project was given through a tender process.
“Micromax has partnered with Chhattisgarh government in launching the Sanchar Kranti Yojana (SKY)... Their commitment towards SKY initiative has helped us reach out to women of urban BPL families, rural house and youth consumers by providing them a worthwhile digital experience through their smartphones," Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion Society CEO Alex Paul Menon said.
He added that the initiative will help make Chhattisgarh a digitally empowered state. The devices being given to women have a configuration of 4-inch display, 1GB RAM/8GB internal memory, while the handsets given to students feature a 5-inch display and 2GB RAM/16GB internal memory.
“The SKY project is a key development initiative to deliver digital inclusion, e-Governance and faster economic development in Chhattisgarh. Jio is happy to be a part of this digital initiative to connect the unconnected," a Reliance Jio spokesperson said.
The beneficiaries will receive 1GB 4G data, 100 minutes voice calls and 100 SMS per month for six months, following which they will be offered tariff plans that are most affordable and competitively priced.