46 lakh students in UP to get laptops
Taking a step towards providing free laptops and tablets to students who have passed Class X and XII, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has formed a committee to oversee their purchase and subsequent implementation of his Samajwadi Party's poll promise.
The committee, headed by Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani, will conduct negotiations with Information Technology (IT) majors and try to ‘get the best deal’ for the state.
The high-powered committee, other than the chief secretary, will have nine principal secretaries, including those of Information, Finance, IT, Planning, and Higher Education besides secretary (Secondary Education), among others.
The committee will invite proposals for the supply of around 47 lakh tablets and laptops. Discussions will then be held to scale down the prices, since the poll sop of the Samajwadi Party (SP) is likely to bear a price tag of Rs 4,555 crore. The number of Class XII students in the state is pegged at 18.19 lakh while the number of Class X students is 28.14 lakh.
Yadav has already had preliminary meeting with Shiv Nadar, chairman of IT major HCL, an official said. While Nadar has expressed his willingness to supply the required number of laptops and tablets to the state, the government wants to ‘explore the market’ further.
“The Chief Minister has made it clear that we need to go for competitive bidding and get the best and cheapest machines and we are working in that direction,” Partha Sarthi Sen Sharma, secretary, Secondary Education and member of the committee said.
The state is working on a time-bound schedule and that the tablets and laptops might begin to roll out around September. “It is a massive exercise, right from procurement, stocking to distribution and it will definitely take some time,” an official said.