The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, handed out free HP laptops to about 10,000 students today as part of the UP government's laptop distribution scheme. The laptops were given out during an event at Colvin Taluqdar's College in Lucknow this morning to intermediate students in a bid to encourage them to pursue higher studies. 

Elaborating on the laptops that were distributed among the students, the spokesperson highlighted that the laptops sport a 14-inch display and are equipped with 500GB hard disk  along with 2GB RAM. It also comes with features like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and has a battery life of minimum 3 hours. The laptop, in addition to a power slot, comes with 3 USB ports, an HDMI port, media card reader and a microphone port. There's also a VGA port along with ports for headphones and speakers. 


Free laptops to complement higher education (Image credit: Getty Images)

The laptop also comes with a DVD writer and is equipped with Hindi, English and Urdu typing capabilities. To keep it safe from virus, the laptop comes with Microsoft Security Essentials. It also comes with MS-Office Pro Academic 2010. A carry bag and a user manual, too, were provided with the laptops to the students. 

The eligibility criteria for this scheme is that students should be studying in higher education institutes that are recognised by a known authority of the state, once they've passed one of the below mentioned examinations in 2012: Intermediate exam held by Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad, Allahabad in 2012, Uttar Madhyama exam by Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Sanskrit Shiksha Parishad, Alim exam that is equivalent to intermediate exam by Uttar Pradesh Madarsa Shiksha Parishad and Class 12 exams of C.B.S.E or I.C.S.E boards. 

The spokesperson highlighted that they had taken the first step towards empowering students with the demands of the 21st century. The laptops, with support from Learning Link Foundation, have been equipped with a repository of digital content. 

While education is undeniably important, by complementing it with present day technology, the government has earned itself some much needed brownie points, especially from the younger lot. Along with offering freebies, attempts to offer students good quality technology at low costs has been a noticeable trend. While Sibal’s Aakash project tops the list, there have been other examples too. 

In 2011, The Tamil Nadu government attempted to give away low-cost laptops to the students in state-aided colleges and high schools. The initiative found its lowest bidder in Lenovo. Lenovo, like HCL, was among several others in the race who quoted their bid of the costs for manufacturing the low-cost laptops. However, a Rs. 13,939 price quoted by Lenovo as the manufacturing cost of each unit of the laptop sweetened the deal for them. The Tamil Nadu government was in plans to dole out as many as 6.8 million of such laptops among students in the state. 

Last month, the Goa Education Department was reported to be in plans of bringing computers closer to the lives of students by making them available to them for as little as Rs 25. The department believes that they can help the students prepare for life ahead and get them “..curious about the e-systems.”

Reports quoted Additional Director – Education, Anil Powar, as saying, “General category students will have to pay only Rs 25 while SC and ST students will have to pay Rs 10 to register for the scheme.”

The Goa government plans to buy almost 50,000 notebooks and tablets for distribution. Powar added that the computers will come with special e-learning packages. He went on to state that Goa Chief Minister, Manohar Parikkar, had even set aside Rs 95 crores towards this purchase in the budget last year.

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