“I never thought there will be a smart phone in my life. I had only seen it. But today I am happy that I own a smart phone.” Says Janki Pekra. Janki is an Anganwadi worker. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Asola village in Surguja district of Chhattisgarh. She is one of the beneficiaries of the Sanchar Kranti Yojana or SKY, the ambitious initiative by the Chhattisgarh government to improve mobile connectivity in the state. The scheme is aimed at reaching out to 50 lakh people who will be provided with smart phones in order to increase the number of mobile users in the state.
Janki was born in a farmer’s family. Her husband is also a farmer. But he is not a rich farmer. The family income was never enough to enable them to buy a smart phone. “We never used a smart phone. Now we are learning it and we are excited about the features. The smart phone has given us an opportunity to learn new things. We can now get news and updates easily and we can learn about the changes that are taking place around us. This is very exciting.” She says.
But apart from the news and updates, Janki has some bigger plans too. “I think my husband can benefit from various resources about farming available on the internet. We are also learning about online transactions and phone banking etc. This will also be helpful for us.” She says.
Janki is confident that the smart phone will help her family witness better days ahead. She says, “It will also help us broaden our thinking. We have more opportunities now. This is a big change. The smartphone is going to be an integral part of our lives.” However, the smart phone has also become a source of family fun. It is now easier for them to capture their beautiful moments on the phone and share those on Facebook or Whatsapp.
Janki is learning to use the phone from her daughters. They are familiar with smart phones as they have seen their friends using them. They too are excited about the smart phone that their mother has acquired now. They are happy that they do not have to use other’s smart phones any more. From educational materials to entertainment they can get everything on the smart phone now. Sharing information like notes and lessons or scanned pages of books has also become a reality now. For that they don’t have to go out any more.
Janki describes SKY as a scheme that has far reaching effects on people like her. She hails the initiative and hopes it covers more and more people so that everyone can reap the benefits of smartphones. “I don’t consider the smart phone as a luxury item. It makes life easier. It helps people like us improve our lives and it opens the doors of many new opportunities. The smart phone is a boon for us and it is going to bean integral part of our lives forever.” She says.