Children of maids, labourers to get free laptops, tablets
In an ambitious effort aimed at increasing knowledge through technology, the state government is planning to provide free tablets and laptops to the children of housemaids and construction workers registered with the Maharashtra Domestic Workers Welfare Board.
SSC pass children of domestic and construction workers will be provided laptops, while those studying in Std V to X will be given tablets to enhance learning skills. Representation Pic
Authorities said tablets would be handed out to those kids studying in Std V to X, while laptops will be given to students that have passed the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams. Board officials said that the scheme is aimed at increasing the intellect and knowledge of these deprived children.
The state is likely to spend about Rs 7.86 crore in the purchase of the gadgets, and over 5,000 children are set to benefit from the scheme. According to the Board, there are 4,077 students studying in the secondary section, while 1,672 have passed SSC exams.
The decision to provide the electronic items was taken this year, said a Board official, adding that they will now put out an e-tender for the purchase of the tablets and laptops. The tablet is expected to cost Rs 7,000 and laptop will be purchased for Rs 30,000. Authorities said the order is expected to be worth Rs 7.86 crore.
What about net?
Eknath Mane, district President of Gharkamgar Molkarni Sanghatana, AITUC (All India Trade Union Congress), said, “It is a novel initiative and the children will be happy to know that they will receive tablets and laptops. But, the question arises who will train them and bear the cost of the Internet. Without an Internet connection, the tablet won’t be of much use and neither the laptop. We will see to it that such provisions are also made.
Madhukar Gaikwad, member-secretary of Domestic Workers Welfare Board and the labour commissioner, said, “The number of beneficiaries will be decided on availability of funds and the number of applications we receive. If we receive more number of applications than the available funds, then we will have to make selections based on merit. We are proposing the e-tendering method to purchase the tablets and laptops.” “In Maharashtra, we have 2.38 lakh domestic workers registered and the numbers has crossed 20,000 in Mumbai.
The scheme is an effort to increase the intellectual knowledge of the children. We will also ensure help is provided to students who wish to take computer education. We are going to help them out in all aspects. The distribution is limited to this year only, and the procedure may take some time,” added Gaikwad. When asked if connection will be provided to the beneficiary children, Gaikwad he doesn’t remember all conditions mentioned in the tender documents.
“We have appointed consultants for this purpose. I would have to get in touch with them and I would have to give you the details tomorrow,” said Gaikwad. The domestic workers need to submit the bona fide certificate from the school to avail of the scheme. If the domestic worker has more than one child, the family would be given either the tablet or laptop.