Indian Government Giving Free Phones To Poor Families


NEW DELHI – Seen as a good initiative, the UPA government is planning to give one mobile phone to every family living below the poverty line before the general elections of 2014, reports The Economic Times.

India has seen a tremendous growth in mobile users over the past few decades. India’s telecommunication network is the third largest in the world after China and USA. India’s mobile subscriber base is set to cross 890 million connections by the end of this year. The staggering growth of mobile connections has been driven by the expansion of mobile services in semi- urban and rural markets. But in 2009, the Indian mobile market was a bit different as the average revenue per user declined, according to reports by Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research. However in 2011, the Indian mobile market had got back on track as the average revenue per user had began to stabilize and by the end of 2016, the number of mobile connections might cross 900 million.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the number of mobile phone subscribers in India rose to 929.29 million with Bharti Airtel alone signing 185.3 million new subscribers, as reported by IBN. With this, the total number of telephone subscribers including landline holders reached 960.90 million, registering a growth of 0.84 percent. The total number of subscribers of Bharti Airtel stood at 2.39 million while the total number of subscriber of Idea Cellular stood at 115.79 million, said the report.

The government is finalizing a Rs 7000 crore scheme to give one mobile phone to every family living below the poverty line before the general elections of 2014. In India, below poverty line is an economic benchmark used by the government of India to indicate economic disadvantage and to identify individuals and households in need of government assistance and aid. According to the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002), the number of rural below poverty line families was 6.5 lakh with less than two hectares land and no television or refrigerator. The total number of people below poverty line in 2004-2005 was 10.2 lakh.