Telecommunication Current Affairs - 2019
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Union govt to proceed with “Bharat Mobile Scheme”
The Union government is going ahead with Bharat Mobile Scheme to give mobile phones to 6 million families that live Below Poverty Line (BPL). The plan is being seen as similar to freebies like laptops and television sets distributed by several other regional.
What is the aim of Bharat Mobile Scheme?
As per the government, it is planning its Bharat Mobile Scheme with the aim to provide unconnected citizens access to benefits of welfare programmes. Besides communication, mobile is to act as a device identity of the members of a household for transfer of benefits of different government programmes.
The phone number may act as the first level of authentication for the user and can be utilized to access information, including land records and details of payments made to a family. To get subsidies and other government benefits, people will still need the Aadhaar Unique Identification Number.
Who will be given the mobile phones under “Bharat Mobile Scheme” ?
As per DoT, every rural household that has at least one member who completed 100 days of work under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in 2012 will be given a mobile phone.
How would the Bharat Mobile Scheme be implemented?
To carry out the scheme operators will be selected through competitive biddings or nominated state-run operators. The operators will be responsible for providing the devices, accessories, connectivity as well as warranty for 3 years.
The mobile phones will have customized embedded opening screens displaying details of the scheme and the allocated number will act as a level of authentication to provide access to health records, land records and payment transfers.
The scheme will be accomplished in 3 years and follow lists of eligible citizens prepared by state governments. Women will be given preference to receive the mobile phones.
Political views against “Bharat Mobile Scheme”:
Many a political analysts view this scheme as a political gimmick to woo the voters ahead of the general elections in 2014, much like the various states giving out laptops and such.
Similar Antecedents to “Bharat Mobile Scheme”
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav distributing laptops and tablet computers to students who pass class 12 examinations.
In Tamil Nadu, local political parties have been known to promise laptops, food grinders and television sets apart from subsidized food grain as part of their election mandates.
Status of Teledensity in India
As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) figures, India ended April with 867.02 million mobile connections. This included 345.85 million rural connections, a 40.59% rural teledensity.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is cogitating to modify the guidelines of SatCom Policy related to allocation and pricing of satellite transponders for public and non-government users.
The guidelines are being revised after consulting ISRO’s stakeholder departments and the multi-ministry ICC (Insat Coordination Committee) chaired by DoS Secretary. Typically the ICC allocates satellite transponders to user groups depending on their availability and urgency of use.
After the approval by the government ISRO will be able to allocate to different users by percentages and charge for capacity on its INSAT/GSAT satellites in a much more rational way than now.
The SatCom Policy threw open the INSAT capacity to non-government users and allowed lease of capacity on foreign satellites where needed.
Who are the main domestic users of INSAT/GSATs transponders?
ISRO leases 95 of the 263 transponders used by domestic operators. The main users are:
- Doordarshan and All India Radio under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
- Private TV channels and commercial Direct-To-Home (DTH) operators
- Department of Telecommunications and BSNL for telephone services
- Over a lakh VSATs (Very Small Aperture Terminals) that enable Internet broadband services of large public and private organizations and drive ATMs and stock exchanges.
- India Meteorological Department and social sectors such as distance education, telemedicine and disaster management also ride their services on Insat/GSATs.
- The Ministry of Defence, the Armed Forces and its various agencies have also taken on new dimensions and are demanding bigger, serious and exclusive allocations.