On Wednesday, Chattisgarh CM Raman Singh announced his government’s ambitious plan to distribute 50,000 smartphones free of cost to the residents of his state. In a fulfillment to the 2017 promise of providing free mobile phones to 5.5 million people within a period of two and a half years, the BJP led state government did this under the Chattisgarh Communication Revolution Scheme(SKY).
For the first two and a half years, the estimated cost of the scheme is Rs 230 crores and according to a Bussiness Standard report, the scheme will benefit 5,100,000 students of technical and non-technical colleges. The first phase cost was estimated by the state to be Rs.1128 crores and for the next phase in Financial Year 2019-20, it will be Rs.102 crores.
The state of Chattisgarh is below the national level in the terms of Human Development Index. Chattisgarh has a value of 0.358 while the national HDI is at 0.624(2016). As a state with one of the lowest standards of living in the country, it scores comparatively low on the Income Index and Education Index. An appalling information was released in a 2004-05 study when it had been found out that 50% of the state’s population was living in poverty. Chattisgarh people mainly belong to SC/ST category.
A 2010 survey report had pointed out that the teledensity or telephone density of the state as below 10%. That study reflected the lack of telephone access in states such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. From this 10%, a massive hike was seen in 2017 thanks to the telecom revolution. Since coming to power, the state government’s aim has been to achieve teledensity of 100% similar to the states like Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.