Goa offers youths free talktime, mobile data ahead of polls

Panaji, Nov 25 (IANS) In a pre-poll bonanza for youngsters, the BJP-led coalition government in Goa on Friday announced free limited calling and talktime facilities for the state’s youths, nearly 1.25 lakh of whom will benefit under the scheme.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar told the media that the scheme would cost the state government around Rs 1 crore per month and that mobile service provider Vodafone has won a bid for implementing the new scheme.

“Goa Yuva Initiative Scheme is the first such scheme in the country. As promised, we are now offering the youth of Goa 100 minutes of talk time, one GB of data at 2 MBPS speed free of cost to youth between the age of 16 and 30,” Parsekar said.

Earlier, the upper age limit for the eligibility was 35 years.

Parsekar said the purpose of the scheme was to link youths across the state and help to skill them.

“This scheme is in line with the ‘Digital India’ initiative of the government of India and will cover youth in the age group between 16 and 30. It is exclusively for the youth. Around 1.25 lakh youngsters are expected to be covered under the scheme, but they will have to apply,” the Goa Chief Minister said.

Parsekar said Vodafone has won the bid, beating Reliance Jio and Idea, with a quoted price of Rs 124.90 per individual beneficiary.

“Vodafone has a good reach. The cost is being borne by the state government. The cost to us will be approximately one crore (rupees) per month,” Parsekar said.

Vodafone is expected to set up around 500 retail outlets across the state to start the registration process for the scheme after 15 days, Parsekar said.

–IANS

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