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Published on Oct 24, 2011
Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resourced Development launched 'Aakash', a low cost access cum computing device, here today. This device was also distributed among 500 children on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion the Minister underlined that Aakash will help in eliminating digital illiteracy. For this he also emphasized the need for having high quality study content to be made accessible to students. He also called for support and partnership from all so that the device could cost further less, while praising the team which had worked towards the creation and production of this device.
Background on the Device To ensure complete transparency and a level playing-field, the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) decided to task one of the IITs (IIT Rajasthan at Jodhpur) with the job of procuring and testing these devices based on the design and specifications that the Mission's team had finalized.
IIT Rajasthan followed an open tender process. A three-step process was followed to evaluate the bids that were received. First, a committee scanned all bids to check their eligibility based on the conditions specified in the tender. Eligible bids were then evaluated by a technical evaluation committee comprising of eminent academics and industry experts. Bids that were found technically suitable were then evaluated by a financial evaluation committee which then declared the lowest bidder. Following set government norms, a further negotiation was then held with the lowest bidder and a further discount obtained from them
It needs to be mentioned that this price does not include any subsidy from the Government and is a price that has been arrived at following a commercial tender process. The Government will also be providing price subsidy to the students on the price indicated in the earlier paragraph. The device will be distributed to students through the institutions at which they are studying.
To achieve this, the team of experts working on this project would be broad-based. The production capacities of Indian manufacturers would also have to be substantially expanded to meet production requirements of a few million devices within a six-month time frame
Broadly speaking, future efforts will move in two directions -- to achieve the same functionality at a lower cost and to achieve added capabilities at the same cost
MHRD invites collaboration, ideas and inventions from the community of academics and experts and inventors to achieve the cherished goals.
Connectivity: It is expected that 416 Universities and 20,000 colleges all over India will be connected under the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT). The Mission pays for fiber connectivity for each University to connect to the nearest NKN node. The Mission has placed a consolidated order for connecting all Universities and Colleges to BSNL and about 80% of the Universities and Colleges have been connected already
Content Creation The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) has proposed 18 different line items for content creation. All content that is created under this Mission needs to meet the following criteria: It should be related to education delivery. It should involve faculty from different institutions All IP (Intellectual Property) created under projects funded by this Mission will vest with MHRD All content should be created using open-source software. All content created under this Mission is for open access by all and cannot be charged for in any way The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) was launched by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, in February 2009 with a budget of Rs. 4612 crore. The National Mission on Education comprises of 48 different components structured broadly around building CONTENT, enabling ACCESS and developing LOW COST ACCESS cum COMPUTING DEVICES.