Following the success of Reliance Jio, the Goa government in its attempt to promote central government’s Digital India initiative is planning to provide free internet and calling facilities to the youth in the state. Reliance Jio’s 4G services, with its free 4G services, has already lured a large portion of the Indian population, especially the youth. And now, it has also extended its free calling, internet and messaging till March 2017. At the same time, other rival network providers, in order not to lose out on the race had decided to provide similar offers to its customers. Meanwhile, amidst all these wars between telecom operators, the Indian government is also trying to push the envelope of its flagship Digital India campaign.
Now, in order to use the digitisation campaigns more, Goa government has decided to back a Vodafone offer which is similar to the free SIM, the internet and calling feature by Reliance Jio. This move is going to pose a threat to Reliance, at least in that region as of now. The limited free talk time and internet offer is directed towards more than a lakh young people in the region. The tie-up with Vodafone is likely to affect 1.25 lakh of Goa youth.
According to the scheme, users will get 100 minutes of talk time and Internet data free till 3GB along with a SIM card. This offer is only for people aged between 16 to 30 years of age each month. Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had reportedly informed about the Goa Yuva Sanchar Yojana. He also said that the state has a provision where if the scheme is found being misused, it can be discontinued.
PM Narendra Modi-led government had launched the Digital India campaign in July 2015, as a move to transform India into a digitally empowered country where its young people are more knowledgeable that ever. By having talks with tech giants like Google and Microsoft, the government had made its intentions clear about the way it wishes to make Indian people digitally capable, and that can be seen in the Wi-Fi provided in many parts of the country, especially railway stations.
With the new scheme in Goa, the government is also planning to test and understand the interest of the youth on the internet. If this becomes a success story, it is quite possible that similar schemes will be launched in other states too. At least we will have an option apart from Reliance Jio too, and that too in government backed schemes.