Distributing ‘NAMO E-tablets’ among college and university students, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday in an apparent dig at the Opposition Congress said the BJP government does not view the youth as vote bank, but new age power.
“During elections, national parties give promises that if they are elected, they will give laptops, ghar na ghar (Congress’s poll promise announced during 2012 assembly elections) and even will give the entire world… They know that they will not come to power, so there is no loss in making promises. But, we have decided that the new age voters are not merely voters, but new age power. We look at them not as voters, but as nation’s power,” said Rupani, while distributing NAMO E-tablets (New Avenues of Modern Education tablets) at Gujarat University’s convention hall in Ahmedabad. Around 50 tablets were distributed during the event.
Focussing on the “middle class” and their issues, the CM stressed on how his government was for “the poor and the middle class and not for the affluent class”, and how various schemes have been floated keeping in mind these sections of the society.
“This is how our government is and for this various schemes like generic medicine stores, the Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act 2017 and now the NAMO e-tablets have been brought. Instead of piles of books and notebooks, this one tablet will empower you to have the world in your hand,” the CM said, addressing a gathering of college and university students from across the state.
Further speaking about the middle class, he said, “The poor and the middle class do not need anything, but only expect opportunities. Thus, the government has decided to give them opportunities and resources like new universities and policies to help start-ups, enabling the youth in Gujarat to be a job giver and not a job seeker… The government is concerned about the middle class and thus, we have decided to give tablets in Rs 1000.”
Around three lakh students would be given the tablets at a token price of Rs 1,000. The government claimed that the market price of such a tablet would be around Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000. In the 2017 Budget, the state government had announced the scheme of handing out tablets to students who cleared Class XII in the academic session 2016-17 and to those pursuing degree and diploma courses in any college or university.
An allocation of Rs 200 crore has been made for this scheme. Two companies — Acer and Lenovo — were shortlisted through the tendering process. So far, 15,4960 students have registered on the online portal for the tablets.
Meanwhile, state Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama announced that similar programmes would be held at other places across the state, including Saurashtra, Surat, Bhavnagar and Vadodara.
Meet Makwana, first-year student of engineering at Parul University who attended the event, said: “It is good that we are getting these tablets at Rs 1000. Even if the specifications are not too updated, it is not bad when it comes with voice calling and two-side camera facility.”