Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday launched Rs 92 crores ‘Punjab Smart Connect Scheme’ by personally handing over smartphones to 6 students of Class 12 in a symbolic gesture. Under this scheme, around 1,74,015 Class 12 students will get smartphones by November, the Chief Minister’s office stated.
The distribution of phones 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 each in various districts to mark the launch of the scheme.
The scheme, for which Rs 100 crore was allocated in the state budget for 2017-18, is benefitting a total of 1,74,015 students of Class 12 of government schools in the first phase. The scheme is expected to be completed by November 2020.
Of these, 87395 are boys and 86620 girls, with the majority in the OBC and SC/ST categories – thus bridging a major divide that was obstructing these students from affordable access to online/digital education. While 36,555 beneficiaries are OBC students, 94832 are SC, and 13 ST students. The bulk of the students – 111857, are from rural areas, and the remaining in urban government schools.
Captain Amarinder Singh, who launched the scheme on the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami and International Youth Day, said that people believe in the promises listed in the election manifesto and it was, thus, his duty to ensure the implementation of each one of them.