While the Union HRD ministry seems to be losing interest in its flagship $ 35 Aakash tablet project,the so called worlds cheapest tablet PC still has quite a fighting chance thanks to former HRD minister Kapil Sibal who has decided to come to the rescue of his dream project,seeking the intervention of the Prime Ministers Office.
Sources said the Department of Information Technology has written to the Department of Science & Technology asking whether the Aakash tablet project could be routed through them. The DIT,it is learnt,has suggested that DST function as a nodal agency which state governments or organisations can approach if they wished to buy the tablet.
Sibal has also written to the Prime Minister proposing that a manufacturing unit be set up for the tablet in view of the procurement problems with the initial versions of Aakash. Claiming that the latest version of Aakash is a world class product,Telecom Minister Sibal has written to the PM seeking directions to permit establishment of two manufacturing units for it in the country. Top officials said that 10 prominent manufacturers have contacted the Telecom ministry and DIT to produce Aakash 4 in India and two sites have been identified as possible manufacturing hubs.
The PMO called a meeting on the issue on May 22,which was chaired by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterjee.
It was reportedly decided at the meeting that Secretary,Information Technology,and Secretary,Higher Education,will hold a meeting next week to finalise the technical specifications for Aakash 4.
A full evaluation report on the first one lakh Aakash tablet has been also sought from IIT Bombay.