More than 4.5 lakh students are yet to receive their laptops. The purchase of laptops will cost the exchequer to the tune of Rs 2,250 crore. This, reportedly is the largest procurement by the government in terms of product and money since the scheme started in 2011. The free laptop scheme for students was a pet project of the late former chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Every year about five lakh students will be benefitted by the scheme.
In 2011-12 and 2012-13, students, who studied in government arts and science colleges, engineering and polytechnic colleges were benefitted by the scheme. From 2013-14 onwards, plus two students in government and government aided schools are benefitting, under the scheme.
A senior official from ELCOT told DT Next on Tuesday that the government has floated international competitive bid for the supply and commissioning of these 15.66 lakh laptops. “From this year the laptop will be equipped with dual boot facility and latest Windows version and Linux. The Latest anti-virus software will also be loaded before distributing it to the students,” the official added.
The official further said the laptops are provided to the students with a one-year warranty, including battery. “Earlier, in 2017-18, due to tender issue about five lakh students were not benefited by the scheme,” the official said adding that all the backlogs will be cleared once the laptops are purchased this year.
He also said that ELCOT will take measures to ensure that from this year onwards there will not be any backlogs.
“Tender process will be completed by November and the shipment of laptops is expected in January 2019. The distribution will begin from February 2019.”