The Telecom Commission in the month of September 2013 proposed to make use of only India-made products for the Bharat Mobile scheme, the rural mobile phone project. As per the Bharat Mobile scheme, all those households where at least one member of the family completed 100 days of employment under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in 2012 will be entitled to get the phone.
Under the Bharat Mobile scheme, women will be given more preference. The scheme will be completed by 2016. The Telecom Commission, in the meanwhile, suggested that wage employment scheme like MNREGA should not be the criterion for the selection of households. Instead, selection should be made on the entitlement-based scheme. The telecom Commission decided that after the specification of the mechanism for identification of beneficiaries, the proposal will be placed before Union Cabinet of India for approval.
Carrying out the Bharat Mobile scheme
• After the finalisation of the blueprint, all the telecom companies will be asked to bid for Bharat Mobile scheme.
• The State Governments in the meanwhile, will be asked to provide the list of the eligible citizens from each village.
• The selected operator will then provide the mobile phone, access to the service centres as well as a connection.
• The mobile services will be provided free of cost to the rural areas and the operators will, in turn, get the subsidy from the Union Government of India.
• Phone distribution will be done by operators along with the district administration.
• The phone will also include the authentication software for ensuring that the intended users will only be able to make use of the services.
• The phone will provide access to the land records, health records as well as payment transfers.