The Madhya Pradesh government is all set to distribute smartphones to around four lakh college students of the state, three years after making the poll promise.
Students of the 2014-15 batch will be the first to get the gadgets – within a month – at a cost of Rs 37 crore, officials said.
The 2015-16 and 2016-17 batches will get it in the next two months, they said without specifying the cost.
Stating that the schedule for the first distribution would be announced soon, Higher Education Department Commissioner Umakant Umrao said, “Phones will be given to students with 75% attendance.”
However, not all students are excited about getting the gadgets, especially due to the long delay.
“The purpose of distributing phone is to promote e-learning among students. I am in the third year and what will I learn in the last year?” said Mayank Yadav, a B Com student.
Officials assured that all the processes will be completed soon.
For the higher education department, Madhya Pradesh State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (MPSEDC) had floated the tender four times. Smartphone-makers Lava and Videocon won the last two bids.
The first tender was floated in September 2014, but in the absence of bidders, the process could not be completed. The second bidding process saw a company, which was not renowned and didn’t had service centres in all district headquarters, win the tender.
In the third tender, Lava won the bid for providing smartphones at a cost of Rs 2,499 each to students of 2014-15 batch. In the final bid process, Videocon bagged the deal to provide smartphones at Rs 2,192 for the students of academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17.
“The department had set the limit for smart phone at Rs 3,000, but we are fortunate enough that reputed companies participated in the tender process and won the bid at much lower price,” Umrao said.
The government then planned to give money to the students to buy the smartphones, but Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan stressed on providing only the smartphones.