The Aakash tablet was the brainchild of former HRD minister Kapil Sibal. The idea was to provide a $35 tablet to students across the nation, it never really worked out that well as the first batch was not technically very usable and plus its manufacturer DataWind was grappling with production issues. Now that M.M. Pallam Raju has taken over the HRD ministry, the fate of the Aakash tablet hangs in the balance. According to a LiveMint report the HRD minister has said that there is no point in getting obsessed with the hardware but the idea should be about providing affordable and pervasion connectivity. Also Read - 'Steep spectrum bids will burden telecom players, customers should expect tariff hikes'
DataWind, the manufacturer of the Aakash tablets was highly criticized for delivering a low-performance device; moreover, it also failed to deliver the 100,000 units demanded by the HRD ministry in the proposed period of time.
Moreover, even with the announcement of the next version of the tablet, DataWind continued struggling to meet the set target of the initial 100,000 units, and could not deliver the set units of Aakash 2 in time.
Meanwhile, states such as Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh proposed plans to supply laptops and tablets for free to students and projected 5 million additional units of Aakash for the distribution. However, the government is still under doubts on whether to take the proposal ahead, considering DataWind s track record.
The ministry, in fact, has reportedly asked Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay which was taking care of the project, to take appropriate measures against DataWind, if the company misses the March 31 deadline of supplying 100,000 Aakash tablets to the institution.
The government has set up two committees to make the final decision on the fate of the Aakash project. One of these is headed by Govardhan Mehta, a former director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and the other by Rajendra Pawar, co-founder of NIIT.