The council of ministers on January 23, finalised the purchase of laptops for education valued INR 28.58 billion (US$536.32 million), at a unit cost of INR 19,058 (US$357.6) inclusive of taxes and duty cost. This deal was given to HP who had proposed the lowest bid.
The state cabinet meeting was attended by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, and the decision came after the recommendations made by the evaluation and technical committee of UP Electronics Corporation were reviewed.
The state government gave an authorisation to the UP Electronics Corporation, a civic body, to issue a letter of intent (LOI) to HP India for the purchase.
HP was mandated to supply five per cent of the total order within sixty days after signing the agreement, with an increased quantity to be supplied every subsequent month. It will have to complete the supply of total 1.5 million laptops in seven months after the date of the agreement, said The UP Electronics Corporation, MD, Prabhat Mittal who managed the bidding process.
Mittal added that the laptops would be delivered at the sub-district level in each district by the company, and the distribution of the laptops is expected to start in a month time.
Giving away free laptops to students is the election campaign promise of Samajwadi Party—the UP ruling government party led by Chief Minister Yadav that gained popular support from the youth to put him in power on March 15, 2012.
For this reason, the first lot of laptops will be handed out on March 15, when the state government completes a year in office. However, the government has kept shifting the bidding dates because of the large size of the order and that IT companies expressed problems in supplying large number of devices.
The ruling party also promised to give free tablets for education to grade ten students. The bidding process for supplying the tablets to the UP government is still underway, and is expected to be finalised by end of February.
The UP state is located on the North of India, and is also the most populous state in India, with a population of 199,581,477 people as of 1 March 2011.
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