Govt To Offer Free Mobile Phones To Female Workers… But Why?


When you start hearing these kind of news making rounds, it is clear that elections are near.

Government is planning to offer free mobile phones to each female member of a household who has worked for atleast 100 days in 2012 under rural employment guarantee scheme (MNREGA), as per the report in Economic Times.

The scheme is not yet implemented, but currently under discussion. This sop is part of the internal presentation given by Telecom department.

It goes without saying that this scheme is geared towards wooing citizens for the state elections leading upto the general elections next year.

Recently Government had also announced a program that will offer three fourths of Indian popular cheap food grains under National Food Security Law.

The “free mobile phone for female workers” scheme is geared towards villages and rural areas in India and only available for workers under MNREGA scheme. MNREGA was probably one of the most prominent schemes that Congress led government implemented after it came into power in 2004.

If the scheme comes into existence this scheme is expected to run for 3 years, which essentially goes beyond the election time, and thereby will potentially benefit the ruling government in getting rural votes.

The big question however is – Where will the money come from to fund this scheme and secondly is offering mobile phones to female workers best utilization of funds in view of country’s current economic state.

India’s economy is currently growing at the slowest pace in a decade. In addition to this Rupee depreciation is putting lot of strain on Indian economy. In such a scenario, offering sops like “mobile phones to female workers” is only going to add to the problems that India’s economy is facing currently.

We are not saying that it should not be done – But clearly if this scheme gets implemented, it will be purely to win votes rather than anything else.

Right now the ruling government’s first priority has to be improving the current economic situation – Though it is a more difficult path to take, if successful, they will probably garner more votes. Taking shortcuts like introducing this schemes will only add to the economic woos.

Would love to hear reader’s thoughts on this!

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