The Madhya Pradesh government has reiterated its commitment to provide smartphones to undergraduate students who have a minimum of 75% attendance after a delay in the process.
Minister of state for higher education Deepak Joshi admitted that the smartphones could not be distributed so far due to technical errors while replying to a question during the question hour in the state assembly on Thursday. Joshi said the government was in the process of giving the phones and tenders had been issued, but some technical errors had delayed it.
The government was questioned as to when it will fulfil its promise made during the 2013 assembly elections that smart phones would be given to the undergraduate students.
The state government had failed to complete the tender process for distributing smart phones at least twice in the past and planned to float a fresh one in August this year for the third time.
Talking to the Hindustan Times in August, minister for higher education Umashankar Gupta had said, “The tender process will be initiated again, as we had received objection on the previous tender process. We will soon invite a tender for both the first and second-year students.”
Earlier, after failing to complete the first tender process — in which only two companies had shown interest — the higher education department, through the Madhya Pradesh Electronics Development Corporation (MPEDC), had floated the second tender in December 2014.
The department had also written a letter to all the government colleges for submitting the list of eligible students till January 28. But eight months after the colleges submitted their lists, the department had failed to distribute the phones.
According to MPEDC sources, the higher education department had put the process of distribution of smart phones on hold, as the company that won the bid was providing phones that are not popular in the market.
Students enrolled last year are still awaiting the phones even as a new batch has already been admitted to first-year graduation courses.