Chhattisgarh: A consortium of handset-maker Micromax and telecom major Reliance Jio has bagged a Rs 1,500-crore order from the Chhattisgarh government to distribute 50 lakh smartphones to women and students in the state.

Under the project, 45 lakh smartphones are being given to women and the remaining will be distributed to college students in the state, Micromax co-founder Vikas Jain told PTI.

Jain said the project covered a large part of the population and the company reserved space in 15 warehouses across the state to ensure timely distribution of the handsets. Chhattisgarh had a population of over 2.5 crore in 2011, as per that year’s census.

The devices being given to women have a configuration of 4-inch display, 1GB RAM and 8GB of internal memory. The handsets given to students feature a 5-inch display and 2GB RAM and 16GB of onboard storage.

“About 10,000 camps are being organised under the project and deliveries have already started. Every beneficiary, chosen by the state government, is handed the device personally after activating it with a Reliance Jio connection. The authentication of the beneficiary is done using Aadhaar.” – Vikas Jain, Co-Founder, Micromax

The beneficiaries will receive 1GB of 4G data, 100 minutes of voice calls and 100 SMSes per month for six months, following which they will be offered special tariff plans by Reliance Jio.

The deal was signed earlier this year with distribution starting at the end of July. “For carrying out the project, we hired about 2,000-2,500 temporary staff… We expect to complete deliveries to all beneficiaries in the next few weeks,” he added.

Jain explained that the project “doesn’t appear to be politically motivated”, given that it has taken months of planning and execution for all involved parties. The project was given through a tender process.

“Micromax has partnered with Chhattisgarh government in launching the Sanchar Kranti Yojana (SKY)… Their commitment towards SKY initiative has helped us reach out to women of urban BPL families, rural house and youth consumers by providing them a worthwhile digital experience through their smartphones.” – Alex Paul Menon, CEO, Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion Society

He added that the initiative will help make Chhattisgarh a digitally empowered state.

“The SKY project is a key development initiative to deliver digital inclusion, e-Governance and faster economic development in Chhattisgarh. Jio is happy to be a part of this digital initiative to connect the unconnected,” a Reliance Jio spokesperson said.

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