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Akhilesh's 'Samajwadi Smartphone Yojana' as good as axed


Lucknow, Apr 19: The Samajwadi Smartphone Yojana, a pet project of former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav which promised free smart phones to people, appears as good as scrapped with the Yogi Adityanath government taking no decision on its continuation.

Former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav

"No decision has been taken by the Uttar Pradesh government to continue the scheme," Additional Chief Secretary (IT and Electronics) Sanjiv Saran told PTI.

Saran, however, did not elaborate on the issue. Official sources said the scheme would have put a huge burden on the state exchequer. Over 1.4 crore people, especially youngsters, have already registered themselves online for the scheme, which was launched by Akhilesh amid much fanfare last year, months ahead of the assembly elections.

"Persons who are at least 18 years old as on January 1, 2017, have an annual income up to Rs 6 lakh, have passed Class X, and who are not government employees or their children" were eligible for the free smart phone scheme.

The registration process for the scheme had begun on October 10. The online registration process was also aimed at establishing Akhilesh's effort to usher in "digital democracy" in the state and bridge the digital divide. In January this year, the online registration for the scheme was stalled in view of an Election Commission order after a complaint was filed by the BJP, which said it violated the Model Code of Conduct as the UP Assembly election schedule had already been announced.

The Uttar Pradesh government recently scrapped the Samajwadi Pension Scheme of the previous government and ordered a detailed review of its beneficiaries. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who was reviewing various schemes being run by the Social Welfare Department of the state, asked the officials to review the list of beneficiaries under the pension scheme and find out whether they were deserving candidates fulfilling the eligibility criteria.

The officials have been asked to complete the review of beneficiaries in a month's time, a government spokesman said, adding a suggestion was made to rename the scheme as Mukhyamantri Pension Yojna after dropping the word 'Samajwadi'. The scheme provides a pension of Rs 500 per month to families living below the poverty line.


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