Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday gifted free laptops to about 31,000 degree college students belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). All the laptops have two stickers – a state government logo and a picture of Siddaramaiah affixed on their top.
“The Acer laptops were purchased through a tender process for Rs 45 crore, with each costing Rs 14,490. It meets the requirement of the students studying in 412 state-run and state-aided colleges and 85 polytechnics across the state,” an official told IANS. The Windows 10 version laptops are configured with an Intel quad processor, 1 terra byte (TB) hard drive, 4 giga byte (GB) random access memory (RAM) and a 14-inch screen.
“All the laptops will be distributed to the SC/ST students in backpacks through their respective colleges across the state under the ‘Free Laptop Scheme’ by the state higher education department in a fortnight,” said the official. Siddaramaiah, who also holds the finance portfolio, made Rs 300 crore budgetary provision to purchase the laptops for 1.8 lakh college students of all categories across the state during fiscal 2017-18.
Though a decision to gift free laptops to students in degree and professional courses was taken by the government in July last year, the scheme could not be fully implemented due to procedural delays. “The remaining 1.5 lakh laptops for students of general and other categories will be distributed soon, as a separate tender has been floated to buy them,” added the official.
In a related development, the state cabinet on Tuesday also decided to distribute bicycles to all students of class 8 in state-run and state-aided schools across the state in 2018-19 at an estimated cost of Rs 185 crore.