Distribution of laptops to Himachal students hangs fire

Rs 25 lakh short, Dept asked to bring down configuration or opt for smartphones

Distribution of laptops to Himachal students hangs fire

Photo for representational purpose only.

Tribune News Service

Bhanu P Lohumi

Shimla, January 28

Three years on, meritorious students of the 2018-20 academic sessions are still waiting for free laptops, promised to them under the “Sri Nivasa Ramanujam Student Digital Yojana”. The Planning Department has reportedly refused to provide an additional amount of Rs 25 lakh to meet the escalated costs.

Taking no savings plea

  • A budget provision of Rs 25 crore each was made for 2018-19 and 2019-20 sessions to purchase laptops
  • The Education Department requires additional funds amounting to Rs 25 lakh to provide laptops to students of 2019-20 session, as the cost has increased in the past two years
  • But it has been asked to scale down the configurations to bare minimum level to manage within the available budget or opt for smartphones as additional allocations were not possible in the absence of any savings

A budget provision of Rs 25 crore each was made for 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic sessions for the purpose. The Education Department requires additional funds amounting to Rs 25 lakh to purchase laptops for students of 2019-20 session, as the cost has increased in the past two years.

But the department has been asked to scale down the configurations to bare minimum level to manage within the available budget or opt for smartphones as additional allocations were not possible in the absence of any savings.

“The Administrative Department, may make appropriate decision at its own level if it wishes to go for distribution/purchase of laptops by revising the cost downwards to make their configuration to bare minimum level required by the students or distribute smartphones instead of laptops within the available resources,” Kultar Singh Rana, Under Secretary, Higher Education, stated in a letter to the Director, Higher Education.

A parent, whose son was a student of the 2019-20 session, said it was a matter of concern that in the present era of fast changing Information Technology, the meritorious students would be provided laptops with bare minimum configuration, simply because the government was unable to provide an additional amount of Rs 25 lakh.

As many as 19,850 students of 2018-19 and 2019-20 sessions are waiting for laptops as the government could not take a decision regarding their purchase. However, smartphones would be given to about 10,000 meritorious students of 2020-21, for which the tendering process is on, sources in the Education Department said.

Tribune Shorts


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