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Low-cost tablet Aakash to be free for all Indian students, says Indian Minister

Zafar Anjum | Feb. 8, 2012
According to India’s human resource development minister Kapil Sibal, the tablet will now be even cheaper and more homegrown.

The low cost tablet Aakash will be made available to Indian students at no cost, promised India's human resource development minister, Kapil Sibal.

According to media reports, the minister said that the tablet will now be even cheaper and more homegrown.

Aakash's production and distribution has been delayed because of a tussle between the tablet's Canada-based vendor Datawind and the Indian engineering institute, IIT-Rajasthan.

Sibal also told the media on Tuesday (7 February) that the tablet's production base will now be diversified and made completely indigenous. "We are planning to create an eco-system for end-to-end development of Aakash in India," he said. "This will create enormous opportunities for R&D institutions, developers and electronic production houses."

The indigenisation of Aakash will bring down the tablet's low price of Rs 2,276 (US$46) to Rs 1500 (US$30). The price reduction will be implemented once the order reaches the one million units figure.

The report said that educational institutions in India will get a discount of 50 percent. However, they will have to pay the remaining Rs 750 (US$15) for each tablet to make the device free for students. Currently, the device is available to students at Rs 1,100 (US$22) after a government subsidy.

The Indian government also plans to involve three more top engineering colleges to take the Aakash project further. IIT Mumbai, IIT Madras and IIT Kanpur will be penciled in for this development, government sources said.


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