Smartphone retailers in Rajasthan are raising objections to the state government’s recent initiative that aims to provide free smartphones to women. The move, which plans to distribute 4 million smartphones by October, has sparked criticism from retailers who anticipate a substantial impact on their profits due to the allocation of 500,000 smartphones for free distribution.
The opposition stems from the concern that the free smartphone distribution plan will directly diminish the pool of potential customers for retailers. This scenario could lead to a significant financial setback for these businesses.
The All India Mobile Retailers Association has voiced its reservations, addressing the issue in a letter to the office of the Rajasthan Chief Minister. The association disclosed that 25 percent of the monthly smartphone sales in the state, which amount to half a million devices, are priced below 10,000 INR. These affordable devices are primarily retailed by small-scale enterprises that are now facing a challenging situation due to the exclusive distribution of smartphones under the Indira Gandhi Smartphone Yojana (IGSY). The distribution is being carried out by an external agency through a limited number of camps, sidelining the existing local distribution network.
The distribution process is managed by two agencies, circumventing the established regional distribution channels. The Rajasthan government introduced the free smartphone distribution scheme earlier this month. The initiative aims to provide complimentary handsets to three specific categories of females: widowed pensioners, girl students, and female heads of families engaged in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme and the Indira Gandhi Urban Guarantee Scheme.
Authorized distributors appointed by the state government are conducting camps across the region for the smartphone distribution. Eligible individuals are assigned specific dates and times to collect their free smartphones through this scheme. The move has generated concerns within the retail sector, as retailers fear that their sales and profitability will be adversely affected by this government-led initiative. Smartprix