Three budgets gone, no sign of free laptops for Class-12 students | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Three budgets gone, no sign of free laptops for Class-12 students

punjab Updated: Mar 18, 2015 20:50 IST
Neha Arora
Neha Arora
Hindustan Times
Jalandhar

Even as the SAD-BJP government presented its third budget in the state assembly on Wednesday, it failed to touch upon a key promise made in their joint manifesto before the assembly elections in 2012 - providing laptops to Class-12 students with free Wi-Fi connectivity to students of government schools in the state.

Several students have thus graduated to college, without even a glimpse of the gadgets, promised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders before the polls in 2012.

In fact, The government seemed to have realised the humungous cost the free laptop with Wi-Fi promise would have entailed as soon as it came to power.

It first tried to water down the project from laptops to tablets costing Rs 7,500 each. On Wednesday, it took the next and perhaps the irreversible step to renege on its 2012 promise.

The government now says that there was no need for laptops, and it would instead focus on setting up of computer labs in schools that do not have this facility.

Talking to HT, Punjab education minister Daljit Cheema said, "We had sent the proposal for computer labs in schools instead of laptops under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) scheme and have received Rs 310 crore under the project to impart computer education from Class 6-12. We will use these funds to upgrade lab facility in schools and establish these in the schools which do not have such labs."

He claimed that setting up computer labs was a much better idea than providing laptops, as this would keep a check on internet use by students.

"There is no benefit in providing individual laptops or tablets. We are working upon providing better facilities and will ensure all schools have Wi-Fi," Cheema added.

However, even as the free laptop scheme has gone for a toss, the state government did allocate Rs 40 crore under the Mai Bhago scheme on Wednesday for free bicycles for government school girl students of Classes 11 and 12.


There is no benefit in providing individual laptops or tablets. We will ensure all schools have Wi-Fi and spend Rs 310 crore received from the Centre to upgrade and set up new labs.

Daljit Cheema, Punjab education minister

Project gone

The government seemed to have realised the humungous cost the free laptop with Wi-Fi promise would have entailed as soon as it came to power.

It first tried to water down the project from laptops to tablets costing Rs 7,500 each. On Wednesday, it took the next and perhaps the irreversible step to renege on its 2012 promise.

The government now says that there was no need for laptops, and it would instead focus on setting up of computer labs in schools that do not have this facility.