The low cost tablet Aakash recently launched by Human Resource Development Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal for digital have-nots and to be distributed for Rs. 1750/- to the students, appears to be promising gizmo. Its features – a resistive touchscreen, an SD card slot fitted with a 2GB card and supporting upto 32GB capacities, 2 USB ports, Wi-Fi, video conferencing, 3-hour battery life, 600MHz processor, 256MB RAM and Android 2.2, are enough to dazzle the India on the wrong side of the digital divide.
But before taking the plunge to distribute Aakash Tablet at Indian taxpayers cost, Mr. Sibal should have addressed many issues of infrastructure of education system, Wi-Fi availability in satellite towns and rural villages, deficiency of power throughout India. Instead of spending crores of Rupees on providing Aakash tablet, Mr. Sibal should ensure first that there are enough schools and proper buildings where students could go to get formal education and these schools have sufficient teachers to teach properly. If you are unable to provide schools to the villages then how and where the students will use the Tablets.
He should see to it that Wi-Fi connections are available even in remote areas, which looks like a dream at the moment. Even big cities in India have few Wi-Fi hotspots and outside them, the services vanishes. The students in the villages will have to wait till India moves to 4G technology that will offer wireless internet the same way mobile phone operators provide wireless telephony services. Moreover, the Tablet may cost as low as 1750/- but what about the monthly charges of Wi-Fi which may go upto Rs. 1000/-!!
Can poor people in the villages afford so much or the government have plans to provide it free of cost in the villagers? Or this is just a plan to provide captive customers to 4G operators. Another drawback of the scheme is that due to acute power cuts throughout India especially in the villages, how will the Tablet with just 3 hour battery be recharged in villages that light up for a couple of hours everyday.
Mr. Sibal – first of all address above issues and only then your dream project shall have some success otherwise it will go the same way as mobile computer called Mobilis in 2005 and handheld computer called Simputer in 2002. Today nobody knows about above devices which were launched amid much fanfare. To make sure that Aakash does not end up in trashcan, Mr. Sibal, you are required to address many problems of education system.
Your intentions may be good but you have not done the proper homework before launching this device.