Having gained political mileage and publicity by distributing free laptops,the Samajwadi Party government in sate has now put an ambitious scheme to distribute free computer tablets to Class 10 pass-outs on the backburner.
The scheme,which was announced with much hype the day Akhilesh Yadav took oath as chief minister,is no longer on the top agenda of the government. There has hardly been any progress in the scheme in the past three months and there are no instructions to take it forward in the near future as well.
Senior officers in the government say there is a lack of political will to take the scheme forward as even if a fresh tender process is launched,it would take at least five to six months to actually start the distribution process.
By the time distribution would start,it is expected that notification for Lok Sabha election would have been made, said a government officer. Thus,there is no political incentive in taking the additional burden as the government would not be able to publicise it with pictures of chief minister or SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav,as it had done with laptops.
Moreover,the government has not been able to complete even the first phase of laptop distribution in the state. As per the latest official records,HP company has already supplied 14.60 lakh laptops against the target of 14.80 lakh beneficiaries and only the distribution is awaited. The laptops were meant to be distributed among Class 12 passouts.
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Meanwhile,the tablet scheme is facing a backlog of more than 55 lakh beneficiaries of two academic years. About 27 lakh students cleared Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board examination in 2011-12 academic year and another 28 lakh cleared it 2012-13. Apart from this there are student from other boards too.
The government had invited tenders for the scheme in the first week of June,but not a single bidder came up as the companies had sought certain clarifications from the government and some of them were unhappy with the way government had changed technical specifications at the last moment. Since then,the government has not taken any initiative to either form a fresh technical committee,to float a fresh tender,or even direct officers in this regard.
According to sources,companies like Acer,HCL and HP are interested in the scheme considering the potential of the huge market in the state but since the political commitment is missing,they have stopped pursing the project..
In the past,some of the reputed companies had shown interest for tablet distribution as experience of laptop distribution has been positive so far. Thus,one cannot say that there are no takers for supplying tablets. The call is entirely of the state government, said a senior officer.
He admitted that there are no instructions about the future implementation of the scheme.
3 held for selling free laptops
Sant Kabir Nagar: Three persons were arrested Friday allegedly for selling laptops,which were distributed free by the Uttar Pradesh government to\ students who have passed class 12. After receiving a tip-off,Phoolchandra,Anand and Munawwar were arrested and six laptops were seized,SP Piyush Srivastava said,adding the kingpin of the gang is a clerk in a school. Police are probing how they obtained the laptops,which were meant for students.