e-Governance

Budget 2012: Aakash tablet gets Rs. 765 crore

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The budget 2012-13 has allocated Rs. 765 crore to the Aakash tablet. The allocation to Aakash project has been made under the National Mission for Education through ICT of Ministry of Human Resource and Development. Last year, it was this mission that launched the low-cost tablet project.

It was in March 31 that the billion dollar- five-year fund allocated to NME-ICT mission expired on and this led to a fresh allocation by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Union Budget 2012-13.

According to official sources, the money allocated is ‘sufficient’ for the second phase of the project. The second phase of the project is likely to begin in April. Aakash-II is likely to cost the government about 569 crore for about 50 lakh tablets. A senior government official involved in the project said, “Most of the money is likely to be utilised for the Aakash project. Some of it will be utilised for developing e-content.”

The government plans to procure about 50 lakh tablets, in a phased manner, at 2,276 each. Half of the cost (about 1138 per tablet) will be subsidised by the central government. The rest of the subsidy will be borne by the state governments, who want to distribute Aakash tablets in state colleges and institutions.

So far only about 500 Aakash I tablets have been procured. However, according to Datawind officials, they have supplied about 10,000 tablets to IIT Rajasthan, for which they are yet to receive money. The deadlock is mainly due to disagreement over specifications.

Earlier this month, Minister for Human Resource and Development Kapil Sibal said in Lok Sabha, that Datawind will supply about 100,000 improved tablets.

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