With the March 31 deadline for receiving a lakh units of Aakash 2 over, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has started charging delayed delivery penalty from Datawind, the company supplying the tablets. The institute has received only 51,000 tablets so far.
The tablet was launched in October 2011, but there were some delays. Subsequently, in April 2012, IIT Bombay took on the responsibility and one lakh units of the new version of the tablet or Aakash 2 were to be ready for supply to institutes across the country by March 31 this year.
“We recently had a meeting with representatives from Datawind. They have claimed that the delivery of tablets was delayed owing to delay in customs clearance, and due to delay in their Indian manufacturers completing their production line. However, as per the terms and conditions, we are charging 0.5 per cent penalty per week for delayed delivery,” said IIT Bombay professor D B Phatak, who is heading the project from the institute.
He said another 15,000 units are expected soon. “Although there have been delays, we expect that the one-lakh target will be met by this month-end,” he said. The funds for one lakh units have been provided by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
So far, IIT Bombay has issued new tablets to 250 colleges across the country. Each college has received 200 to 250 tablets. These colleges are IIT Bombay’s remote centres for training engineering teachers across the country. “The colleges will use the tablets to teach courses, to develop more applications and content, among others,” Phatak added.
The colleges will have to give continuous feedback to IIT Bombay on its use, the subjects that are being covered and features that need to be added to the tablet. The information will be put in a common repository, to be used in open source, so that it can be utilised by students and faculty across the country.