Six months after it was launched amid much fanfare, HRD minister Kapil Sibal's Aakash project has barely taken off as only 650 units have actually reached students. The computer tablet priced at $35 (Rs 2,250) - touted as the world's cheapest - has been hit by several disputes lately. But the intensity of the damage suffered by the project is now evident from the aforementioned figures provided by the HRD ministry in an answer to a Lok Sabha question during the budget session.
Aakash 2 set for launch in May
Aakash, which was unveiled on October 5, is the country's latest offering in a series of affordable technological innovations that includes the world's cheapest car, Tata Nano. The device was created specifically for students with the aim of bridging the "digital divide" between the rich and poor.
SPECIAL: Maker, procurer differ over Aakash
The 650 units received till date are part of the batch of 6,440 tablets supplied to IIT Rajasthan by Datawind. The remaining were rejected as "the number of defective LCADs (Aakash tablets) in those lots exceeded the stipulated 5 per cent of devices," the ministry said in its reply to the House on March 14.
But after that, the supply has practically come to a halt as the manufacturer Datawind and IIT Rajasthan, which was the nodal agency appointed by the HRD ministry to oversee the project, have been embroiled in a bitter dispute over the testing criteria for the computer tablet. So, instead of the one lakh units that the government was expecting to be delivered by December, it only has a measly 650.
Datawind's letter of credit has been extended on the condition that the remaining units will be of an upgraded version. "Datawind is still to supply 1,00,000 LCADs of higher specifications at the same price. These higher specifications (which include 700 MHz Cortex A8 processor, 3200 mAH Battery and capacitive touch screen) have been necessitated to overcome the initial difficulties observed in the devices," the ministry stated in its reply.
Courtesy: Mail Today