As Pallam Raju rethinks, HRD panel backs Aakash tablet

While Human Resource Development Minister Pallam Raju last week caused quite a flutter, saying his ministry was rethinking its own flagship $35 Aakash tablet, a committee set up by his ministry has strongly backed the low cost access device.

Terming the tablet a "game changer" which needs to be invested into in a big way, the committee headed by eminent academic Prof Goverdhan Mehta — set up to review the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology and the Aakash tablet project — has said in its report that the very success of the NMEICT Mission "strongly hinges around a low-cost device through which the content created can reach the learner".

This committee has recommended that keeping in view the increasing user requirements and buying capacities "it would be a good option to bring 2 to 3 models, good, better, best, of low cost access device".

The HRD Ministry has set up two committees — one under Prof Mehta who is also Chairman BoG IIT Jodhpur and another headed by NIIT Chairman Rajendra Pawar — to review the Aakash project. The Pawar committee is yet to submit its report.

The Mehta committee report, accessed by The Indian Express, says that the concept of creating a $35 low-cost access device is a game changer.

The report also points out how the tablet has actually generated a lot of interest and competition in the industry to create low-cost solutions (in the form of low cost tablets) for addressing computing/accessing needs of a wide range of users.

"The committee recommends that a project of LCAD magnitude and importance should follow a professional approach in respect of design, component selection, layouts, prototyping, manufacturing and testing etc from the very inception," the committee's report said.

Suggesting a futuristic design for the low-cost access device, the committee said the tablet must be designed keeping in view the requirements and availability of bandwidth, quality of content to be displayed, availability of 24X 7 connectivity and electrical power conditions.

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