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Aakash is 'alive and kicking': Telecom min

New Delhi, March 23, 2013, DHNS 0:17 IST

This project was Sibal’s brainchild when he was the HRD Minister

A day after Human Resources Development Minister Pallam Raju expressed concerns over future of Aakash, his cabinet colleague and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said the project for the low-cost computing device is "alive and kicking" and work is on for its third and fourth versions.

The Aakash would provide the platform for the future and not just for children but for all citizens of India, Sibal said responding to queries over Aakash’s future at the National Editors Conference.

The Aakash project was Sibal's brainchild when he was the HRD Minister. The idea is to provide low-cost computing device at subsidised rate to students so that they can access Internet for educational purposes.

Sibal also added that a joint working committee set up by him when he was the HRD Minister is working on Aakash 3 and 4. About 18 vendors want to manufacture Aakash in India, he added.

Hinting a possible junking of the proposal of distributing the much-hyped low cost tablet, Raju said instead of an obsession with hardware, the focus should be on enabling students with educational content and leave the choice of device to the students.

The HRD Ministry said that the vendor –Datawind- a Canadian company which won the tender to deliver 1 lakh units of Aakash version 2 to IIT Bombay by March 31, delivered only 17,100 devices so far. With this, the Ministry is planning to hold back its proposed tender for procuring 5 million Aakash tablets. News agencies reported quoting the company’s statement that "29,400 devices are in transit to IIT-Bombay and 23,500 devices are manufactured and at sub-contract manufacturers.

As for the remaining 30,000 units, the company said final assembly is being completed and delivery is expected within the next couple of weeks.

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