The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to give free smartphones to all members of women's self-help groups in the state to enable them to avail various government services on digital platform. The state has around 1.4 crore members in Development of Women and Children in Rural Area (DWCRA) groups, popularly known as the women's self-help groups.
The phones will have Android operating system and will come with a sim card with required speed, unlimited calls, daily 50 SMSes and 1 GB data.
K. Vijayanand, Principal Secretary, Information Technology, Electronics and Communications, on Wednesday said Andhra Pradesh Technology Service will be the nodal agency for procurement of the phones.
A procurement committee will announce guidelines for the same. A technical committee will be framing guidelines to distribute the phones.
The Internet is expected to increase the reach of citizen services being provided by the government. He said the move would help bridging the digital divide.
The government is providing citizen services under various platforms like E-Pragati, Mee Seva, Yuva Nestam and Real Time Governance. There is also a toll-free number 1100 to lodge complaints.
There are already 900 web-based and 100 mobile applications available to provide various services to the people.
Just last month, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had said that nearly 14 million smartphones should be manufactured for distribution in the state. He also said that the state government was planning to distribute a smartphone to each family in Andhra for ease of living.
The state government made the announcement in a press release from the Chief Ministerâ€™s office in Amaravati. However, it did not reveal any further details on how it plans to execute this decision.