India targets 100% smartphone ownership by '19

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

India's newest government has announced initiatives aimed at ensuring that the entire population has a smartphone by 2019.

The 1.13 trillion rupee ($18.8 billion) Digital India initiatives also aims to transform the nation into a connected economy, India's Economic Times said.

India's smartphone penetration currently stands at around 74%, but the government aims to increase this to 100% by 2019.

Prime minister Narendra Modi aims to ensure that the smartphone can be used to access all types of services, especially government, health, education and retail services, the report states.

The initiative will be able to support other government projects, including a plan to give every household in rural India access to a bank account and debit card. The Digital India initiative will aim to facilitate mobile banking adoption.

As part of the project, the government will also pour funds into manufacturing clusters for electronic items, with the goal of reducing reducing net electronics imports to zero by 2020.

The government will also redouble efforts for the National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) project, which has stalled for the past three years. The prime minister himself will monitor progress with the project to ensure it starts meeting its deadlines.

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