Laptops only for first year degree students of 2019–20 batch

Around 1.09 lakh students in government colleges to benefit

Published - June 15, 2019 01:01 am IST - Bengaluru

In 2016–17, 32,000 laptops were distributed to students belonging to the SC/ST communities.

In 2016–17, 32,000 laptops were distributed to students belonging to the SC/ST communities.

The State Cabinet on Friday decided to distribute laptops to first year degree students for the 2019–20 academic year. Those who were in the first year in 2017–18 and 2018–19, however, will not get the laptops.

B.H. Anil Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, confirmed the government’s decision on distributing laptops. Around 1.09 lakh first year students in government degree colleges will benefit from this. The tender had been awarded to two companies to supply the laptops.

First year students in the past two academic years, who were hopeful of getting laptops, are now left disappointed.

Sources in the Higher Education Department said that over the past two years, tenders for the laptops had been called thrice but there were no bidders. “The Finance Department had suggested that as students who began their course in 2017–18 are now in the final year, they would not benefit much from the laptops,” sources said.

Controversy

There was a controversy around the procurement of laptops and a House committee was formed to look into the matter after the former Commissioner of the Department of Collegiate Education (DCE) M.N. Ajay Nagabhushan objected to floating a tender with four packages. He had written to the then Chief Secretary specifying that a single tender for the laptops should be called as calling for a tender in four packages would lead to huge cost variations and increase the cost per laptop.

In 2016–17, the DCE procured laptops at ₹14,490 a piece which were distributed to 32,000 students belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities.

This time, however, the cost of the laptops is expected to escalate as the department has asked the suppliers to provide a three-year guarantee instead of one year and GST has to be factored in.

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