CHANDIGARH: With just 18 months left for the assembly elections, the Congress Government in Punjab distributed smartphones to students for free in the statewide launch of its Rs 92 crore 'Punjab Smart Connect ' scheme for students.
The move fullfils an election promise.
These phones come pre-loaded with government applications like e-Sewa App with e-content related to Class 11 and Class 12 as approved by the Department of School Education. They also have an engraving of CM Amarinder on the back, with the words "Captain Smart Connect".
Amarinder personally handed over smartphones to six Class XII students in a symbolic gesture.
A labourer's daughter Gagandeep from Hoshiarpur told the Punjab CM on video that though she had got 85 per cent in Class XI, she had been severely hampered by the lack of a smartphone during the past few months. With this phone, she said she will now be able to fulfill her dreams.
Simultaneous distribution of smartphones was done at 26 places by various ministers, MLAs and others across the state to kickstart the scheme.
Each minister personally handed over 20 phones in various districts to mark the launch of the scheme.
A total of 1,74,015 Class XII students of government schools will be given the smartphones in the first phase which will be completed by November.
Of the students who stand to benefit, 87,395 are boys and 86,620 girls, with a majority in the OBC and SC and ST categories.
While 36,555 beneficiaries are OBC students, 94,832 are SC and 13 ST students. The bulk of the students - 1,11,857 - are from rural areas and while the remaining study in urban government schools.
Amarinder, who launched the scheme on the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami and International Youth Day through video conferencing at the Secretariat this afternoon, said people believe in the promises listed in the election manifesto and it was his duty to ensure the implementation of each one of them.
He said that in the present pandemic situation, these phones had assumed a bigger importance as they had become necessary for online classes.