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UPA govt to give one cellphone free to every Indian BPL family with 200 minutes of local calls free

New Delhi, Aug 8: The UPA government has decided to provide at least one cellphone for each BPL (below poverty line) family in the country, with 200 minutes of local calls free, reported The Indian
PTI August 08, 2012 14:14 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Aug 8: The UPA government has decided to provide at least one cellphone for each BPL (below poverty line) family in the country, with 200 minutes of local calls free, reported The Indian Express today.




In his Independence Day speech next week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to announce a scheme to ensure at least one cellphone for each BPL household in the country, with 200 minutes of local calls free. That would imply six million households, or more than 28 million people, the report said.

The UPA government has found a slogan it wants to go to the people with for the next general elections: “Har haath mein phone (a phone in every hand).”

The government is hoping the slogan proves as powerful as Indira Gandhi's “Garibi hatao” slogan, with the cellphone as much an empowerment tool as a direct link to the section of the population that plays a decisive role in any election.

The Planning Commission and Department of Telecommunication have been asked to submit a final workable model by August 10 so that the PM can announce the scheme on August 15.

The programme, that is expected to cost around Rs 7,000 crore, may be partly funded through Universal Service Obligation (USO) funds. Half of the money required would be raised from the bidder who gets the right to provide the service.