Anuradha ShettyJan 24, 2012 13:16:46 IST
It seems like the disappointment will linger for a while longer. India's dream of producing the world's most affordable tablet may have taken shape, but, it'll take a while, before it fulfills its purpose - that of bringing in quality education at an affordable price to the country. An Economic Times report states that IIT-Rajasthan has rejected as many as 3,000 units of the Aakash tablets on grounds of it delivering slow performance and bad screen panels. If that hasn't proven to be a deterrent already, then there have been reports also confirming that on Saturday, this past week, the Letter of Credit (LC) that was issued to Datawind by the government expired, and at least till yesterday, it remained so. Reportedly, the government may give Datawind an extension till March, which in all probability may be the last one to come its way.
A while before it sets down to work
Rift between Datawind and the IIT isn't an unheard tale. A couple of weeks ago, Datawind was in the news for having reportedly rejected the test standards put forth by IIT for Aakash. The Canada-based company felt that the 'military-style', rugged specifications were a bit too much for the humble Aakash.
The tale of woes does not just end here. While IIT Rajasthan rejected some 3,000 units of the Aakash tablet claiming them to be less than satisfactory, they are yet to give their assent to Datawind on the 10,000 units of Aakash tablet that have been already supplied to it. An assent here would mean the release of payment for the supply. So, while IIT Rajasthan has, in its letters to the HRD ministry listed down the cons of the Aakash tablet, Datawind has refused to move further with the orders, unless they are clear in the head with the required specifications. In his statement, as quoted by this report, Datawind CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli stated, "We have taken a straight loss of about 3,000 units. Besides, payments for the supplied 10,000 units are still due. We can't supply further unless we get revised test criterion."
Even as Datawind and IIT-Rajasthan continue bickering over their differences, the ministry maintains a distance. Citing the rift as a commercial one, a ministry official was quoted by this report as saying, "Both IIT-Rajasthan and Datawind entered into a contract as commercial parties, let them sort it out."