Akhilesh relaunches laptop scheme

The free laptop scheme, which was abolished by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav last month, has made a comeback with some changes.

Now, the state government will give out free laptops only to meritorious students and not to everyone who passes intermediate (class 12) examination, sources here said.
The laptops will be provided to 500 students passing class 12 and to a similar number of students clearing the high school examination, the sources said.

A merit list will be prepared for the purpose, officials said and added that Akhilesh Yadav will distribute the laptops to some meritorious students at a function to be held here next week.

The sources said the decision to reintroduce the scheme was taken with a view to distribute the laptops, which were laying with the government following abolition of the scheme.

The project was the brainchild of Akhilesh and was claimed that it had catapulted his Samajwadi Party (SP) to power in 2012 Assembly polls.

However, things changed after the SP rout in the state in the recentl Lok Sabha polls. The SP could win only five seats.


After the poll debacle, senior SP leader and the State Minister for Mining & Minerals Gayatri Prajapati had said the free laptop and tablet scheme must be shelved as it had not been able to fetch the party votes of the youths.

Apparently, realising that the populist schemes could bring votes only in the short run and were also a drain on the state's exchequer, Akhilesh, in his 2014-15 Budget shelved the free laptop scheme.

Since 2012, the UP government had distributed lakhs of laptops to the students and it cost the cash strapped state hundreds of crores.

The official figures show that a whopping Rs 2,800 crore had been spent on laptops' distribution in 2012. As many as 15 lakh laptops were distributed in 2012.
Though an allocation of Rs 2,700 crore had been made for the scheme in 2013-14 Budget, no laptops were distributed in the previous financial year.

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