Rajasthan HC notice to govt over smartphone `guarantee cards`

  • | Friday | 22nd September, 2023

JODHPUR: The Rajasthan High Court issued a notice to the state government on Tuesday, seeking a response regarding the rationale, proportionality, and legality of issuing "guarantee cards" as part of the second phase of the Indira Gandhi Smartphone Scheme.The matter is scheduled for further hearing on October 5. A division bench, comprising Justice Vijay Bishnoi and Justice Yogendra Kumar Purohit, issued the notice in response to a PIL challenging the validity and propriety of an "Aagya/Order" issued by the state planning department.Scheme lacks essential element of a welfare activity: Petition in HC This order pertains to the distribution of Smartphone with Internet Connectivity Guarantee Cards to women heads of approximately one crore Chiranjeevi cardholder families, with a budget allocation of Rs 2,500 crore.The order states that these women will receive free smartphones in the second phase of the scheme upon presenting these guarantee cards. The first phase involved the distribution of 40 lakh smartphones.Petitioner Mudit Nagpal has requested in the PIL that the Aagya/Order issued on August 21 this year be declared illegal and quashed, as it was announced without considering the social and economic background of Chiranjeevi cardholder families.The petition questions the governments stated objective of women empowerment through the scheme, arguing that its implementation lacks essential elements of a welfare activity. The petitioners counsel Devki Nandan Vyas said: We have also prayed [in the petition] that the government be restrained from distributing the smartphone guarantee cards as it is beyond the jurisdiction of the planning department and against the scope of power defined under the Rajasthan Rules of Business.Vyas pointed out that the scheme lacked approval in the state budget and appropriation act, and no financial sanction was obtained before issuing the Aagya/Order. The petitioner also highlighted financial challenges, including fiscal and revenue de ficits, and expressed concern that the scheme could exacerbate the financial crisis.

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