Taking a swipe at the Congress in Gujarat for its promise to provide free laptops if it came to power, Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the much hyped low-cost Aakash tablets promised by the Centre have not come ‘down to earth’ yet.

Modi told a gathering on the occasion of Teachers’ Day that the Congress-led UPA Government was “dragging its feet” on distribution of Aakash tablets and accused the Centre of failing to honour its much-hyped commitment. Aakash has been billed as the world’s cheapest personal computer.

“I want to tell students that 11 months ago, a Minister of Congress-led UPA Government, Kapil Sibal, had organised a big event at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi, and launched Aakash tablet….He had stated that the world’s cheapest low-cost PC would be made available to students at Rs 3,000. Mind you, it was not for free, you had pay for it,” he said, adding that even after paying, no tablet PC had been delivered since its launch.

“Eleven months have passed by, but no Aakash tablet has come down to earth...Now I realise why this gizmo is named ‘Aakash’ (sky),” Modi quipped.

The dig at Congress came against the backdrop of the Opposition Congress on Tuesday announcing free laptops to students if voted to power in the Assembly elections due by the end of the year.

‘Aakash’ project is a scheme of the Ministry of Human Resource and Development under which a million low-cost tablet computers are planned to be distributed in the colleges at a procurement price of Rs 2,276 per unit.

(This article was published on September 5, 2012)
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