India yesterday showcased the Aakash 2 tablet at the headquarters of the United Nations. This event, though big, comes only days after rumours questioning the Made in India-ness of the Aakash 2 tablet surfaced. The tablet’s Canadian manufacturers were quick to refute claims made by a media report that went on to add that the tablet is a cheap Chinese import and not Indian.
Now, a Business Today report shares that Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said that he is proud that some of the components of the Aakash 2 tablet were sourced from Beijing. When asked questions pertaining to the recent controversy (about some components being sourced globally), he added, “Over the last 72 hours I have dealt with this controversy that the Aakash tablet is not 100 per cent made in India. Why is that a controversy?” Tuli went on to add that the controversy is because he has “been a big proponent of local manufacturing”. “Because I have been a big proponent of local manufacturing, that is why this controversy exists. China and India are neighbours. China is part of the global community. In my mind there is no controversy, all that there is is sensationalism,” he added.
Tuli, at the launch of the Aakash 2
Tuli has shared that some parts of the Aakash 2 tablet obtained globally. The touchscreen, for instance was manufactured in Canada, motherboards and kitting were manufactured in China and the final assembly and programming 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” about the sourcing of parts from China.
A report carried by Hindustan Times had alleged that Datawind founders and NRI brothers Suneet and Raja Singh Tuli ‘may have procured these devices off-the-shelf from manufacturers in China' for $42 (Rs 2,263 then), exactly the price at which they sold these to the Indian government.
The report further added that Datawind bought more than 10,000 or more ‘A 13’ made-in-China tablets from at least four manufacturers in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The company’s Indian manufacturing partners in Hyderabad, Delhi, and Amritsar had not played any part in the manufacturing process.
The UK based company that has been authorised to supply Aakash 2 denied this report, calling it ‘misleading’ and ‘inaccurate'. CEO Suneet Singh Tuli insists that the tablets are built in India, including all circuit boards, which are made in Hyderabad.
The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed a few days ago that it will go ahead with its plan of showcasing the Aakash 2 tablet at the United Nations. Reports about the India's plans of showcasing its innovation behind developing what it referred to as the 'most competitively priced' tablet computer first appeared earlier this month.
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