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Jaya's freebie plan falls flat

delhi Updated: Jul 05, 2011 23:00 IST
Prasad Nichenametla

The Planning Commission has turned down the request of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa to fund the free laptop scheme as promised by the AIADMK supremo in the run-up to state elections.

In a populist but high-burden measure on the exchequer, Jayalalithaa announced that her government would provide free laptops to students in higher secondary, engineering, arts and science colleges in the state.

The scheme envisaging a laptop at cost of Rs 15, 000 to 68 lakh students requires Rs 10,200 crore, over the next five years. To be launched from September this year, it targets to provide laptops to 9.12 lakh students in the first year at a cost of Rs 1,368 crore.

In the meeting, last month, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is also head of the plan panel, Jayalalithaa had asked for a special grant of R10, 200 crore over the next five years to dole out her poll-promise.