Gujarat: Indian Company’s Tablet PCs Fail Quality Test, NAMO Program Delayed Again

The Gujarat government’s plan to provide NAMO tablet computers to undergraduates was further delayed after devices made by an Indian company failed quality checks. More than 72,000 students who signed up for the project and paid the symbolic sum of Rs 1,000 at the start of the 2020-21 academic session are waiting for their tablets.

When the program launched in 2016-17, two companies – Acer and Lenovo – were selected, but until last year only Lenovo supplied the tablets. The government later changed it to an Indian brand, delaying the project for the first time.

However, the first batch of nearly 50,000 tablets produced by the Indian company – Lava International – failed the quality test, preventing the government from proceeding with the distribution to more than 72,000 enrolled students who are now sophomores. undergraduate.

Freshmen will only get the tablets once this backlog is resolved.

Lava International was awarded the contract in August after tenders issued three or four times failed to generate good responses and meet technical specifications.

Education Department sources confirmed the delay with a senior official saying on condition of anonymity: “Among the technical specifications, including speed, memory, battery backup, screen and component checks, the lot failed in two or three main specifications. As this is a politically sensitive issue, everyone is silent.

In August, due to political pressure and opposition allegations about the delay, the government of Gujarat had ensured to clear the backlog within a month to coincide with the celebrations of the five years of the Vijay government. Rupani.

Former Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama then told The Indian Express that the delay was due to the government’s insistence on “Make In India” and that the distribution process would begin soon for the pending students and as well as new admissions after the award of the call for tenders. to an Indian manufacturer.

Education department officials revealed that with advancements in technology in the four years since the program’s launch, the specifications have improved. The tablets were said to have come with improved specs, including an eight-inch screen and a microprocessor with improved RAM. The market value of the tablet is expected to be between Rs 12,000 and Rs 14,000.

The program was launched in 2017-2018, when the state government announced the handing over of tablets priced at Rs 1,000 each against the claimed market price of Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 to all students who had completed class 12 in the 2016-2017 school year and were pursuing degree or diploma courses in the state.

In the first year, the state government allocated over Rs 150 crore to the program budget. Two companies, Acer and Lenovo, were shortlisted through the tendering process. However, only Lenovo supplied tablets to the state government until last year with an increased budget of around Rs 200 crore. More than three Lakh students are to receive the tablets at a symbolic price of 1000 rupees each year.

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