Smartphone Bonus: approved, amended and confused

Smartphone Bonus: approved, amended and confused
A great deal of fuss has been raised around the umpteenth bonus that Parliament is preparing to approve by the end of the year: it is the so-called "smartphone bonus", the nature of which is however rapidly changing and whose analysis in the media is as high as ever deviated from party logic and very little from merit analysis. To this end, it is therefore necessary to clarify, because among the meshes of confusion the risk is that of burning the nth 20 million euros that are added to the accumulation of Italian public debt.

And we certainly do not have any. need.

Smartphone bonus, the official text

Before analyzing what happened, here is the official text of the provision. It is found in Annex 1 of the budget maneuver, among the amendments already approved by the Budget Committee. In what is the art.105-bis "Digitization kit", we read:

1. In order to reduce the digital divide phenomenon and favor the use of distance learning for subjects belonging to families with an ISEE income not exceeding 20,000 euros per year, with at least one of the members enrolled in a school or university cycle not holding an internet connection contract or a mobile telephone contract, who have the public digital identity system (SPID), an electronic device with connectivity for one year or a bonus of equivalent value to be used for the same purposes is granted on free loan.

2. The benefit referred to in paragraph 1 is granted to only one person per family unit and within the overall maximum spending limit of 20 million euros for the year 2021. To this end, the forecast of the Ministry of Economy and Finance is a special fund has been set up with an endowment of 20 million euros for the year 2021, to be subsequently transferred to the autonomous budget of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Department for digital transformation.

Smartphone bonus, the truth

Some clarifications to try to clarify the issue and understand not only where this proposal comes from, but also where it can be destined:

despite some non-pro-government newspapers criticizing the operation as was yet another "gift" from the Prime Minister, the truth is that the amendment stems from a Forza Italia proposal: not a government source, therefore, but of opposition. Better to avoid partial analyzes for or against the Government, in short, and understand whether the proposal has a value or not;

does not only include smartphones: the new version, as it has been approved, foresees that the bonus extends to the concept of "electronic device". Potentially even a tablet, then; it is not enough to have the ISEE below 20 thousand euros, but other decisive requirements are also needed: one of the family members must be enrolled in a school course, there must not be a fixed connection in the family, nor a telephone contract mobile; those directly concerned must have SPID; the text makes no reference to the fact that the IO app can be pre-loaded on the device, nor to newspapers enabled for daily reading. Despite this, and despite the non-governmental proposal, there was no shortage of arrows: "I", "Immune", but that's not enough, Conte yes or more precisely wants to ruin you, only for today the directing mobile phone comes away with another app as a gift that allows a subscription to read two newspapers a day: and, once again, bets are accepted on which these publications will be, and for which, however, unexpectedly, the consultation will prove to be almost inaccessible.

Nicola Porro

The text relating to the “Smartphone Bonus” has therefore changed considerably during the first phase of the process, expanding in terms of instrumentation and losing the peculiarity it had assumed by focusing only on smartphones. At the same time, the current formulation seems only a watered-down extension of those "Bonus PC" measures that were supposed to allow families in difficulty to have a useful device for studying.

Confused purposes: from where it arrives, where it will go

Estimates (probably optimistic) indicate 200,000 potentially affected households, compatibly with a 20 million bonus that must comply with the supply of the device and connectivity for one year. The aims are doubtful: in a country where almost all households have a smartphone or can in any case access a low-cost one, the measure seems to be disproportionate or in any case poorly calibrated. If we are talking about a "digitalization kit", then why not refinance the PC Bonus and expand its scope so that it can be more inclusive and better calibrated on the real needs that have arisen in recent months?

To comment on the text must now be Parliament through the approval of the Budget Law by the end of the year. For now, to understand the origin and destination of the new text, start with the signatures that the new formulation "105.022" brings with it: Gelmini, Trancassini, Garavaglia, Manzo, Del Barba, Pastorino, Delrio, Tabacci.

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