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Kerala Budget: Digital push rides on subsidised laptop plan, fibre network project

The cost after subsidy for laptops can be paid through the KSFE Micro Chit Fund within three years.

Published: 16th January 2021 05:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2021 05:30 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The budget proposed a subsidised laptop distribution programme aimed at creating a digital society. Laptops will be distributed at half the cost to children belonging to fishing and scheduled communities, and Antyodaya households. A subsidy of 25% will be provided to other families below poverty line. According to the finance minister, providing laptops at every household is the next logical step after the digitisation of schools. 

The cost after subsidy for laptops can be paid through the KSFE Micro Chit Fund within three years.The government will announce the inauguration of the first phase of the Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) project, an ambitious IT infrastructure project of the state to make internet accessible to everyone, by February, the FM said. With the project set to be completed by July, the minister also announced that no monopoly would be allowed in the state’s internet highway. The budget allocated Rs 166 crore for the project.

“While we need steps to reduce the digital divide, it would be unrealistic to say that it would protect livelihood. Welfare measures shouldn’t be promoted as livelihood schemes. The government has to think beyond providing the infrastructure,” said Joseph C Mathew, information technology adviser to former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan.“The government’s focus is on procurement which we have seen in the KITE projects.”

K-FON Internet speed 10 mbps to 1 gbps 
Will facilitate e-governance system, e-commerce and digital services, and fields like artificial intelligence, block chain and Internet of Things.



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