Datawind CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli has gone all public venting his anger on IIT Jodhpur over the Aakash tablet. He even went on to say that the conduct by the institute was ‘unethical’ and ‘hurt the reputation of all IITs.’ Tuli said the ministry has given all support for the project but IIT-Jodhpur hasn’t handled the project properly. IIT’s role was of procuring the tablet while there was no tech input from them in terms of the design or manufacture. HRD Ministry had given IIT-Jodhpur a Rs. 4772 lakh contract for procuring 100,000 Aakash tablets but not more than 600 devices supplied by Datawind were found good enough and the institute rejected 7500 devices calling them defective.
End of the road?
This has been the reason for the conflict and the IIT Ministry had to intervene in the matter. Datawind will be handling the matter legally and two IIT-Jodhpur faculty members will be sent a notice for violation of the non-disclosure agreement. Tuli further accused the IIT of plagiarising military-type testing specification from HP and using them for the Aakash tablet and also secretly signing an agreement with Quad Electronics. So, obviously there could be a delay in the shipping of the device.
Tuli again maintains what he had told us during an interview when asked about the low performance of the Aakash. He said that the specs were as per the tender and the company themselves offered to upgrade the device at the same cost by replacing the resistive screen with a capacitive one and also with a faster processor. Although he doesn’t promise, the Aakash could be available to students by May-June.
There is a transfer process of the project, moving from IIT-Jodhpur to IIT-Bombay. The new devices will now be sent to IIT-Bombay for testing and if approved, the HRD minister will launch the upgraded Aakash-2 in May. Tuli adds that the Aaakash 2 will be widely tested in June as the students return to school and from July it will be produced in larger numbers.
With a good initial start with the announcement of the Aakash tablet, the journey hasn’t been smooth from the time the tablets were available to users. The low performance has been the key issue.
We had the opportunity to interview Datawind's CEO recently. To find out more check out this link here.
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