Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

Summary: The Income Tax department in India is spending close to 50 crores INR on telecommunications upgrade for the bureaucrats. BlackBerrys, broadband connections and fixed line connections part of the deal.

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Officials in the Income Tax department of India will soon be having BlackBerry Torch phones courtesy a deal pegged close to Rs. 50 crores ($11 million). Known as Project Tarang, under the agreement the I-T department will be adding:

  • 51,000 mobile connections
  • 22,000 fixed line connections
  • 5,000 broadband connections
  • 8,000 3G data cards
  • 1,000 BlackBerry Torch handsets

BSNL has prepared a customized plan for the I-T department’s requirement and as reported, approximately Rs. 40 crore (~$8.5 million) will be paid as the annual fee to BSNL for the telecom services while Rs. 5 crore (~$1 million) for the hardware equipment.

The fixed line and broadband connections will be installed at the residences of the Indian Revenue Service officers. The mobile phones are for the commissioners and chief commissioners. The idea is to provide fast and secure connection (I wonder whether they got the memo about the Indian govt. vs BlackBerry issues.) Some details about the call plans:

  • All calls between the mobile and fixed line connection across the MTNL/BSNL networks will be free.
  • The mobile connections will have 400 minutes a month of free calls to other networks.
  • The fixed line connections will have free 300 call per month to other networks.
  • Unlimited free SMS messages across the BSNL/MTNL network.

There are two ways to look at the story and unfortunately due to my lack of faith in the bureaucrats I’ll pull out the “there are so many people living below the poverty line and they want spend crores on free broadband & BlackBerrys” card.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Networking, BlackBerry, Telcos

Manan Kakkar

About Manan Kakkar

Telecommunication engineer with a keen interest in end-user technology and a News junkie, I share my thoughts while preparing for my Master's in Information Management.

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11 comments
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  • Why is this news???

    Seriously!
    wackoae
    • RE: Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

      @wackoae because it is interesting to know where the tax payer money is going and what IT services do the govt. bureaucrats get at our expense.
      Manan Kakkar
  • RE: Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

    while it's easy to raise questions about " taxpayer" money . but have the author ever questioned the fact that tax collection cost is the lowest in the world even lower than the collection cost of pakistan and b'desh. and while you sit around and gloat about the fact that it dept is investigating CWG, loan , land, 2g scams and feel that now maybe justice will be done, you begrudge some minor incentives which are being provided to some top ranking officials who after having put 30 yrs of service take away rights of " so many people living under the poverty line". Have you ever approximated the amount of extra revenue generation by the IT dept. vis-a-vis the manpower available and resources provided? probably not...
    while not appreciating the fact that here's a dept of GoI who finishes it's work on time, investigates cases of massive fraud, is independent of any political pressure and works without discrimination you decided to slander. you just have to look at what other incometax officials across the world are doing and are getting to understand what IT dept in india is achieving. or maybe you should walk into one of the state govt. tax offices to see what is happening to your taxpayer money.
    "A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing."-Victor Hugo .
    wallowing in pity and loathing is the easiest thing to do my friend. sip the coffee and see the picture.
    but maybe you are too busy with the latest java update which now works on the zoobarek platform to know what is really happening.
    saurabh_cllko
  • So what is the problem?

    These IT officials collect 2,00,000 crore rupees every year. so what is the problem if 50 crore rupees is spend every year to increase their work efficiency?
    danishvet
  • RE: Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

    I am amazed that a leading technology publication thinks that automating the communication for one of the world's fastest growing economy's tax office (IRS) is somehow a waste. What's next? There should be no computers in India and they should all go back to going to work on Camels & Elephants.

    This article, at best, shows lack of understanding. At worst,... you be the judge.
    anshu_sharma
    • RE: Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

      @anshu_sharma@... free broadband at their residences? At offices sure, give them 16Mbps Airtel, I'd be glad. Secondly, Blackberrys is weird because on one side the telecomm dept. wants to ban the service and on the other hand one IRS goes out to buy them. I wonder what signal it gives to RIM.
      Manan Kakkar
  • RE: Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

    There certainly are a lot of bureaucracy fans wanting to condemn Manan's view of free broadband and phones for home and personal use. Efficient government is sometimes good, but graft is hard to consider efficient.
    Bill4
    • RE: Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

      @Bill4 What can you imagine can be the disparity amid <a href="http://www.rxshop.md/products/haircare/propecia">generic Propecia</a> and <a href="http://www.rxshop.md/products/haircare/finpecia">buy Finpecia</a>?
      saieazby
  • RE: Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

    I am surprised, how can providing of mobile phones and broadband by government be called a graft. A real example of a biased view. Believe me, people at income tax department work at home too. The time barring nature of matters are to be disposed off in time at all cost.
    lkis
  • RE: Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

    there should be a public debate when such decisions are made, as tax payers will have to have a mechanism to give a nod for such huge spending; after all its public money;
    gookul_krish
    • RE: Indian tax-payers money spent on BlackBerry Torch handsets for I-T officials

      @gookul_krish
      there already is goookul...it's called parliamentary accounts commitee and the parliament. reference: constitution of india. Kindly gooogool it.
      don't rush in if the angels are not going....there's probably a good reason
      saurabh_cllko