The UPA government is coming out with a welfare programme with the slogan: “Har haath mein phone (a phone in every hand)”
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 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, is likely to 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.