Free laptops for general category students in March first week: Basavaraj

Free laptops for general category students in March first week: Basavaraj

Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddi noted that free and good quality laptops will be distributed to around 1.50 lakh students of general category, who are studying in government degree colleges and polytechnics, in the first week of March.

"Rs 227 crore has been reserved to give free laptops for students of all communities, extending the scheme to give free laptops to SC/ST students. Tenders ware called on December 20, and they would be opened on February 5," he said, lamenting that the process was delayed due to the irresponsibility of officials.

Speaking after inaugurating distribution of free laptops to SC/ST students of government first grade colleges and polytechnics in the district, at a function held at Convention Centre (Samskrutika Bhavan) here on Friday, he stated that free laptops are being given to 31,786 SC/ST students in the first phase, including 522 degree students and 133 diploma students in the district, and this scheme is extended for the students of other categories also.

The lowest bid for laptop for the SC/St students government degree colleges was Rs 14,490 per branded P3 laptop, and it was Rs 17,000 for polytechnic students. We decided to purchase laptops for both sections at Rs 14,490 rate. After getting the supply, each laptop is checked individually, and is being given to students along with the bag. The price of this laptop in the market is Rs 21,300, Mr Rayareddi said.

Residential colleges

The government has decided to start residential colleges at 16 places in Hyderabad-Karnataka region and other backward areas, spending Rs 25 crore each. Tenders have already been called to construct 10 residential colleges. Each college can accommodate 1,000 students, and in the second phase, they would be constructed in each district, the minister noted.

As the employment rate of even engineering graduates is less, skill development centres are being set up at Dandeli, Yalburga, and Mysuru to make graduates self-employed. Rs 3,000 crore plan is being implemented to improve the infrastructure at all 412 government colleges in the State, he said.

Higher education gross enrollment ratio in the State is 27%, while the national average is 24%. We want to increase it to 40%, he said.

'Charges baseless'

Though Rs nine crore was saved for the government and good quality laptops were purchased, Opposition leaders leveled baseless corruption charges, because Assembly elections are nearing. They are afraid that Mr Siddaramaiah may become the chief minister again by getting more votes from students and parents, Mr Rayareddi noted.

"I urge them not to play politics in the issue related to students' future," he added.

MLC Basavaraj Horatti asked the students to be self-employed, saying that 6,800 MTech holders, 38,000 BEd graduates, and 61,000 DEd holders in the State are unemployed.

District In-charge Minister Vinay Kulkarni also spoke. Collegiate Education Department Joint Diarector D M Nidavani, Devaki Yoganand, Ravindra Kalburgi, and others were present.

Mr Rayareddi symbolically distributed laptops having the photograph of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to a few students.

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