Quite contrary to what the have-nots have come to expect from the nation’s low-cost computing dream, the Government recently told the Lok Sabha that students will not receive the initial 1 lakh units of the Aakash 2. Instead, the initial lot will be used for testing, and empowering teachers. What's more, there is currently no proposal to provide any of the initial units to students.
In a written statement to the Lok Sabha, Union Human Resource Development Minister, MM Pallam Raju, stated that there is currently no proposal to offer the initial units of the Aakash-2 to students. “Presently, there is no proposal in this regard… In the first phase one lakh tablets are for the purpose of testing and teacher empowerment. They would not be distributed to students in the first phase,” he said. Raju was asked whether the government planned to offer Aakash 2 tablets to students, especially those from poor backgrounds and rural areas for free.
Not coming to students first
“The advanced version of low cost access device Aakash 2 tablet was launched by President Pranab Mujherjee on occasion of National Education Day on November 11, this year. The salient features of Aakash-2 tablet includes seven inch multi-touch capacitive projective display with at least 800×480 resolution. It runs on Android 4.0 (ice-cream sandwich) operating system, powered by 1GHz processor and HD video playback support,” Raju added.
This developement is expected to raise quite a few eyebrows, as it was widely believed the Aakash 2 would come to students first, just like its predecessor, the Aakash, aimed to.
Recently, the Permanent Mission of India to United Nations, New York hosted a special event to unveil and launch the Aakash 2 at the United Nations. Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-moon was the Chief Guest at the Special Event, which was attended by over 500 nvitees, including 65 Ambassadors/PRs, media delegates, NGOs and select members of the Indian community.
The event was held just days after rumours questioning the origins of some Aakash 2 components surfaced. The tablet’s Canadian manufacturers were quick to refute claims that stated that the tablet was a cheap Chinese import and not Indian. Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind, the manufacturer of the Aakash 2, stated that some parts of the tablet were obtained from across the world. The touchscreen, for instance, was manufactured in Canada, motherboards and kitting were manufactured in China and the final assembly and programming was done in India. “Parts of the tablet are made in different parts of the world. I am proud that the motherboard and kitting is done in China. I am proud that we are setting up six manufacturing facilities in India with six different partners,” Tuli said. He even said, “too much is being made” of the fact that some parts were sourced from China.
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