Right from day one, I had serious doubts about Project Aakash becoming successful because this is very ambitious project of Ministry of Human Resources Development, headed by an able lawyer – Kapil Sibal. Mr. Sibal is of the view that since the order value is huge therefore the Aakash tablet can be sourced at very cheap price. But Alas! that is not going to happen as per reports published in today’s newspapers.
As per media reports- both public and private sector suppliers of the tablet have made it clear that the water and shock-proof tablet with a four times faster processor and a longer battery life may cost about $100 or more (Rs. 4900 plus) each.
IIT-Rajasthan, which has been entrusted with the task of setting the appropriate specifications, wants the waterproof Aakash 2 to run at 20 degree to 50 degree celsius temperature, 1.2 gigahertz microprocessor and a random access memory of 700 megabytes, double the original size.
Two public sector companies, Indian Telephone Industries and Bharat Heavy Electricals were willing to manufacture a million updated tablets, but not at original price. They are of the opinion that it will be difficult to sell even at $ 100 each keeping in view of US Dollar appreciation and other incidental expenses.
With similar specifications, Mypad costs Rs. 4900 while Classpad costs Rs. 7350 each. The original supplier- Datawind- have already shown their inability to supply the Aakash tablet at the price desired by the Government of India.
These are just birth pangs and even if the Aakash tablet is borne by surgical procedure then this baby will have to face hostile environment for survival as the infrastructure to run it, if it runs at all, is not in place. Hope Mr. Sibal has Plan 2 in mind!