As predicted by us long ago, the highly ambitious Aakash tablet project of Ministry of Human Resources Development, which was started with a bang will end up in whimper. As blogged by us several times earlier, it is practically and logically not possible for any company to supply the tablet at a price of approx Rs. 2000, however lousy the product may be. The maker of Aakash tablet Datawind has not been able to fulfill its promise for timely deliveries and has been delaying the tablet on one pretext or other. The fact of the matter is that neither they are capable nor willing to meet the contractual obligations.
It is quite evident that the maker of low-cost tablet has not been able to deliver despite many deadlines given by the HRD ministry, and now it is apparent that the government has conceded that there has been a “failure” in its production. Concerned over the tardy progress, the HRD Ministry has written to IIT Bombay (the executing body) to ensure the vendor (Datawind) meets the terms and conditions and the supply order by March 31 in letter and spirit, failing which action could be initiated against it.
We fail to understand that why the government chose first of all an unknown company like Datawind to execute such a huge project despite the fact that they have not much previous experience of that sort. We are also not able to comprehend why such big project was not awarded to some established Indian or foreign companies who have the resources to implement such type of project. It would have been ideal for HRD ministry to award the project to some reputed companies at some realistic prices. Of late,many reputed companies like HCL have come out with reasonably good tablets for students in the price range of Rs. 5000 to 6000, and if these companies had been given the responsibility to deliver the tablets in large quantities then they would have offered the quantity discount to the government and also delivered in time. Alas! the HRD ministry has a unique thought process which unfortunately, is not in tune with today’ s hard realities.
This project is going to become pain in the neck for the struggling UPS dispensation and this matter should be thoroughly investigated for its flawed decision making and the responsibility for this failed project should be fixed.
The current HRD minister should learn lesson from this and invite fresh tender for the tablet and only the reputed company should be entrusted with this project.