Now, free laptops for SC/ST law students 

Now, free laptops for SC/ST law students 

According to a government order, free laptops will be funded under the Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan.

Free laptops have made a comeback in Karnataka through a new scheme. The B S Yediyurappa administration is in the process of giving free laptops to thousands of final-year SC/ST students studying in state-run and aided law colleges.

Under the scheme, SC/ST students whose annual family income is less than Rs 5 lakh will get free laptops along with academic books. 

According to a government order issued recently, the free laptops will be funded under the Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan (SCP-TSP). Under the sub-plans, 17.15% and 6.95% of the total state budget allocation is set aside for SC and ST welfare, respectively. The Hubballi-headquartered Karnataka State Law University has been given Rs 65 lakh for the scheme. “Hopefully, by January, the students will get the laptops. The Technical Approval Panel will approve the specifications for the laptop, following which we will go ahead with procurement,” KSLU Registrar R Ravishankar said. 

The decision to give free laptops to law students was taken at the SCP-TSP state council meeting Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa chaired in June this year. It was also decided that free laptops will be given to lawyers being trained by the Social Welfare department. 

The KSLU has, along with its affiliated colleges, about 25,000 undergraduate students. Of them, about 4,000 are SCs and around 1,000 are STs. The university offers the 3-year LLB alongside 5-year BA LLB; BBA LLB; BA, LLB (Hons) and BBA LLB (Hons) integrated programmes and the LLM programme. 

This scheme will add on to another one launched by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government. In his 2017-18 budget, the then chief minister Siddaramaiah announced free laptops for 1.50 lakh students who have got secured admission at government or aided medical, engineering and first-grade colleges, at an estimated cost of Rs 300 crore. Before that, the scheme was restricted to about 30,000 college students from SC/ST communities. 

The scheme initially ran into rough weather when allegations of irregularities in the procurement of laptops led to the formation of a House committee.