Around 4.4 lakh laptops worth over Rs 830 crore, which were to be distributed to students in Uttar Pradesh, are lying in government godowns, reports Times of India. The laptops were supposed to be distributed to students by Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, however, they are lying in government godowns as the the CM does not have time to distribute them. Out of the 4.4 lakh laptops, around 75 laptops were damaged due to seepage of rainwater into the godown in Lakhimpur Kheri, the report states.
Following this report, UP chief minister, Yadav, has confirmed to Times of India that he will speed up the process of distributing the laptops to the students.
It’s unclear why the Samajwadi Party government mandates that the laptops to be distributed by the chief minister himself. Earlier, the devices were distributed by senior ministers, however the decision was later changed mandating Yadav to distribute the laptops.
Due to the political agenda, students who are supposed to get the laptops, are left out. That said, it should also be noted that the laptops were sanctioned in 2012. While it might have an up to date hardware specification back in 2012, new products with better hardware specifications are now hitting the market, which might make the laptops sanctioned by the government obsolete by the time students get their hands on them.
In June 2012, the Samajwadi Party government had announced a budget of Rs 2,72.24 crore for distributing laptops and tablets to meritorious students of classes X and XII. According to another report by Times of India, government has paid only Rs 312 crore to HP, from whom the laptops were sourced. HP claims that the government has a Rs 900 crore pending bill. It has also threatened to stop further supply of devices. Also note that HP has distributed only 79,491 laptops to students and has created an additional inventory of 1,41,866 laptops to be made available once they receive government orders.
Devices distribution programs from the government, be it state or central, have been mired with hurdles. The government of India had launched an ambitious project to launch Aakash tablets that were to be provided to students on a subsidized rates. The first three versions of Aakash failed to make any significant impact. Earlier this month, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) had put up a proposed technical specifications for the Aakash IV and invited comments from interested stakeholders on vendor neutrality, tablet usability and functionality until July 12, 2013.