The world’s cheapest tablet, Aakash should come with ‘Made in India’ tag. This is the latest request made by Datawind, the company that made it. They made this request with the Human Resource Development Ministry few days back.
“Datawind successfully made the $ 49.48 tablet Aakash in India despite various pressures. We will make a request to the ministry (MHRD) that they should consider ‘Made in India clause’ and encourage indigenous production,” said Sunit Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind. According to him since most of the critical parts like the chip and software are being made in India, the tablet should also be of Indian make.
The Indian government has started a phased project to make Aakash tablet available in the universities and colleges of the country. The first phase was to give the tender of making 1 lakh tablets to Datawind. In this regard, Tuli said, “The Assam government tender has introduced Made in India clause. I hope they (IIT Rajasthan) will also consider inter clause for this. Unless you start (manufacturing) here how would somebody start making products in India?”
The responsibility of procuring these low cost tablets was given to IIT Rajasthan which is based in Jodhpur under tender issued by ‘The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technologies (NME-ICT) of the Ministry of Human Resource Development programme.
“It is the money of Indian taxpayers and is to be used for Indian students. It is for the government to decide whether they want to spend it for Indian jobs or they want to spend it on Chinese jobs. Irrespective of the final decision, I guarantee you that it will be won by company that will make product in India,” Tuli said. He also appeared very confident that his company would win the bid for the next line of production even if the tablets were to be manufactured outside India. There is news that the next tender will be out to bid in the next two to three weeks.
IIT, Rajasthan director Prem Kalra said, “Made in India has multiple definitions. PCB (circuits) is coming from China and you press components on it in India. Will it be call manufacturing in India? These are the questions which need some clear definition.