Akhilesh Yadav's free tablet scheme gets stuck with no supplier

Monday

Nearly 26.62 lakh students who passed Class X last year will now have to wait longer.

Even as the government has launched its scheme to give free laptopts to Class XII pass students, it is yet to find a supplier of tablets for distribution to nearly 26.62 lakh students who passed Class X last year.

Three firms Acer, HCL and Hewlett Packard had submitted bids for supplying tablets but only HCL submitted the test report of their sample tablet until the deadline of March 2. HP, which has grabbed the contract to supply 15 lakh laptops, has withdrawn from the bidding.

Sources said that the UP Electronics Corporation Limited has sent a report to the government to either extend the date of submission of test report or select HCL as the supplier.

"Acer and HP do not appear interested, hence both did not submit sample test reports. HCL is the only bidder now, but the contract of such a multi-crore scheme cannot be given to any firm without competitive bidding," said Jivesh Nandan, Principal Secretary of IT and Electronics Department.

The state government had made a provision of Rs 302.39 crore in the budget of 2012-13 for distributing tablets. The government has proposed the same amount in the budget of year 2013-14.

In May last year, the government had entrusted the task of procuring tablets to UP Electronics Corporation Limited. In November 2012, UPECL invited technical qualification bids, but no firm turned up until the deadline of January 7. The date of submission of bids was then extended to January 25 and Acer, HP and HCL submitted bids.

All three were asked to submit test reports of the sample tablet model, having specifications set by the government. The test reports had to be obtained from Standardization, Testing and Quality Control (STQC), Electronics Testing and Development Centre (ETDC) or Electronics Regional Test Laboratory (ERTL). The deadline of submission of sample test report was extended twice.

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