The federal government of Rajasthan, India’s seventh largest state by inhabitants, is because of current its price range for the yr ending March 2024 in February. And executives at India’s prime telecom firm, Reliance Jio Infocomm — which noticed a modest 1.2% development in subscriptions within the three months ended December — have causes to encourage.

That is the main focus of an formidable undertaking focusing on 13.3 million girls and their households.

Within the 2022-23 price range, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot introduced a scheme to distribute free cell phones and knowledge to residents as a part of the Mukhyamantri Digital Seva Yojana. By mid-2022, the state will begin receiving bids from Jio and different telcos equivalent to Bharti Airtel and state-owned BSNL — which goes to the polls later this yr. this yr.

Solely telecom firms are eligible to bid, however Jio and Airtel’s rival, Vodafone Concept, has been overlooked. Jio has launched its providing with unique tools producers (OEMs) Samsung and Nokia. Importantly, the upgraded model of the JioPhone Subsequent — which has not seen a lot success in any other case — can be a part of the proposal, officers associated to the scheme mentioned.

Bharti has additionally partnered with Samsung. It’s not clear whether or not BSNL additionally had an OEM associate.

The telecom arm of Reliance Industries, led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, emerged because the lowest bidder, paving the way in which for the corporate to get 60% of the contract worth at ~1 .5 billion US {dollars}. Bharti Airtel, Jio’s closest competitor, obtained the remainder.

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in November 2022, tools deliveries ought to start in mid-December. However there was an enormous delay. Whereas some latest stories have instructed that the undertaking has been shelved, an official near Rajcomp Information Companies—the IT consultancy agency liable for implementing the scheme—mentioned that the federal government will make clear the standing the undertaking within the price range doc on February 8.

“The federal government anticipated the value to be decrease than the bottom bid. It has not allotted Rs 12,000 crore (~US$1.5 billion) for this undertaking,” mentioned a senior government. In distinction, state governments have spent Rs 12,000-13,000 crore (US$1.5-1.6 billion) every on well being and rural growth in 2021-22.

Neither Jio nor Rajasthan authorities responded The Ken questions at publication time. Additionally, the officers and trade officers talked about within the story didn’t need to be named as a result of they weren’t licensed to talk to the media.

If the deal goes by, it is going to be a much-needed win for Jio. In reality, Jio’s income market share within the Rajasthan circle within the quarter ended September noticed a decline from the identical quarter in 2021 , whereas Bharti’s share elevated throughout this era.

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