Less than a week ahead for the completion of 100 days, the Captain Amarinder Singh led Congress government is looking for telecom investors to fulfill its ambitious 'sop' of giving free smart phones to state's 50 lakh youths within 100 days coming to the power. During his budget speech in the ongoing Punjab Assembly budget session on Tuesday Punjab Finance Minister (FM) Manpreet Singh Badal a budget of Rs 10 Crore is required to implement the 'Captain Smart Connect Scheme'.
Addressing a press conference after his budget speech, FM assured that the scheme is under consideration and will be implemented soon. "We will initiate a global tender process inviting telecom companies to come forward to provide smart phones to the youths. There is a stiff competition among global investors too who are willing to participate in the scheme. We will be soon implementing it," he said. FM also assured that the budget allocation of Rs 10 Crore will not be a burden on state's exchequer.
Later, lambasting out at FM's claims to provide smart phones to youth, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir SIngh Badal while addressing media in Punjab Assembly said that the government is making a fun of the innocent people of Punjab. "The promises they (Congress) made during polls were unrealistic. Now the government is finding it hard to fulfill them. 100 days are to be over but the government is seeking more time to fulfill promises. The smart phones were to be given by the government now it is looking for investors. The government is making fun of people," he said.
The initiative was launched on November 20, 2016 by Captain Amarinder Singh with the aim to empower the youth of Punjab by digitally connecting them with the world. The scheme underlined Captain Amarinder Singh’s commitment to providing 50 lakh ‘Smart Phones’ with free data and calling facility to youth between the age of 18 -35 within the first 100 days of the formation of his government.