Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], Aug 12 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday launched the Rs 92 crore 'Punjab Smart Connection Scheme' on the occasion of Janmashtami and International Youth Day.
He personally handed over smartphones to six Class XII students as a symbolic gesture, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office informed.
"Marking the fulfilment of another major poll promise of the Congress government in the state, simultaneous distribution of phones was done at 26 places by ministers, MLAs and others across the state to kickstart the scheme. Out of the 1,74,015 students who will benefit from the scheme, the bulk - 1,11,857, are from rural areas, and the remaining in urban government schools" the statement said.
Quoting the CM, the statement said, "When the Congress listed smartphones as a poll promise, it was to provide global connectivity and empower the poor youth who could not afford them. In the present pandemic situation, these phones had assumed a bigger importance as they had become a necessity for education continuity.
"It is the money of the people of Punjab which this government is spending on the advancement of the youth. The phones were planned to be distributed in March but the process got delayed due to the COVID crisis," adding that he wanted Punjab's students to be abreast with the latest technology which they can use effectively for their education, which leverages technology in a big way today.
"Going forward, the Industry department would be procuring more phones, through Punjab Infotech, and the distribution will be undertaken through M/s Lava, which has been selected as implementation Partner to deliver and distribute smartphones to Youth in the State," the statement added.
The statement further said that students from various Government Senior Secondary Schools of Mohali district said the smartphones they received today would provide them with much-needed access to online education in these difficult COVID times.
"Gagandeep, a girl student and a labourer's daughter from Hoshiarpur, told the Chief Minister on video that though she had got 85 per cent in Class XI she had lost out severely in studies over the past few months due to lack of smartphone. With this phone, she said she would now be able to fulfil her dreams. The Chief Minister assured her of all help to pursue her dreams," the statement said.
It further added, "Pointing out that the Smart Connect scheme was in line with the vision of the Chief Minister, as manifest in the party's poll manifesto, Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla said it would help government school students download course material and old papers etc to prepare for their Board exams. The Industry Minister, Sham Arora said that his department, who was entrusted with the task of purchase, had bought one of the best smartphones in the market.
Youth Affairs Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh said that this was the fulfilment of another major promise of the CM after the farm loan waiver and seamless procurement." (ANI)