The Aakash tablet project has been one of the most ambitious projects picked up by the Ministry of Human Resources, under minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal. However, while the project itself earned several enthusiasts at the outset, the number began slimming down, since quite contrary to claims several students did not get the tablets, as promised. Canadian manufacturers, Datawind, who have been associated with the project since its inception have now, according to reports pointed fingers at IIT-Rajasthan, who were overlooking the project, testing its quality, among other things for having allegedly created roadblocks in the tablet’s path, eventually leading to its failure.
A detailed report by the Times of India quotes Datawind CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli as saying just how the institute over-emphasized on concerns regarding Aakash’s quality and functionality, allegedly to favour other firms. Further in the report, Tuli elaborated that as part of the initial order of supplying 1,00,000, they had supplied 10,000 tablets to IIT-Rajasthan. He alleges that as soon as the tablets reached few students (as part of a pilot project), the institute began rejecting the tablets after there were reports about the device not being upto the standards set by the institute and that it failed during the pilot testing. Tuli, however added that the institute’s criteria for rejecting tablets were both biased and used an unscientific testing methodology. Quoting Tuli, the report stated that, “IIT Rajasthan was simply trying to defame us by saying that we could not meet the quality required by it. When we were awarded the contract, there was only a specification sheet. But when we started supplying the tablets, IIT Rajasthan started rejecting the tablet based on biased and unscientific testing methodology.”
Reportedly, IIT-Rajasthan had been issued a showcause notice by the MHRD, last month over the Aakash fiasco. The showcause notice questions Aakash over its failure to set up a timely tablet testing facility and procedure, along with the institute's failure to ease differences with Datawind. Both, Datawind and IIT-Rajasthan had differences over the specifications of the Aakash tablet; while IIT-R sought for military-style specifications, like water-resistance, shock-resistance, among others, Datawind stood its ground on making the Aakash tablet an affordable tablet with the basic specifications. Now, though Datawind withdrew all their units from IIT-Rajasthan after non-payment for the second generation of the Aakash tablet the responsibility of overseeing the project will lie on IIT-Mumbai. The Aakash 2 is expected to launch sometime next month.
To know all about the Aakash tablet, click here.