Industry trouble for Sibal’s Rs 1,500 laptop
A stiff guarantee clause in the government’s norms for its ambitious Rs 1500 laptop project is threatening to delay the plan to empower millions of Indian college students with a low cost computing device.
The human resource development ministry is now preparing to relax the clause, which required manufacturers to provide a 15% guarantee fee upfront, after interested firms vetoed the norm, placing the project in jeopardy of missing its deadlines.
Top government sources have told HT that HRD minister Kapil Sibal will soon call a meeting with officials and possibly interested firms to discuss ways in which the guarantee clause can be relaxed.
“Without compromising the intent behind the clause, we will relax it to cater to the concerns raised by industry. The truth is that the clause we imposed was indeed unrealistic,” a senior government official said.
The government may either reduce the guarantee fee amount from 15% of the project cost, or may remove the condition that manufacturing firms need to pay the amount upfront. The government could instead simply pay 85% of the annual project cost after the first batch of laptops is delivered, sources said.
The firms, it is understood, have argued that the 15%guarantee fee was too high for a novel, high risk project like the mass manufacture of the cheap computing device.
For the uninitiated, Dhan Mill Compound, a former granary and a cluster of warehouses, has morphed into the city’s modish food, fashion, design and lifestyle destination. Its streets are lined with art cafes, home décor outlets, ateliers, art galleries, pottery studios, dance halls and high-end boutiques, whose facades and interiors are as interesting and experimental as the wares they deal in. Interestingly, all of these fancy establishments are housed in re-purposed warehouse buildings, which still have metal roofs.
According to a Delhi government official, a break-up of the total jobs, including the list of employers and the number of people they hired, will be shared “in a couple of days”. Notably, the government portal was launched by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on July 27, 2020, to help entry-level and blue-collar job seekers connect with employers at a time when the Covid-19 induced lockdown left many people unemployed.
“Manufactures, and start-ups which are working on alternatives to single-use plastic have to pay more GST for raw material. Hence, the Delhi government will write to the Centre and request a reduction in GST rates,” Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said.
Safdarjung, Delhi’s base weather station, recorded 0.1mm of rainfall between 8:30am and 5:30pm on Sunday. The Capital recorded 1.9mm of rainfall on Saturday and 117.2mm on Friday, making the monthly total 119.2mm so far. The normal monthly average for July is 210.6mm, said weather experts.
Monsoon elevates Adam Khan’s tomb into an emergency sanctuary for passersby (and dogs) speared by sudden showers. Perched atop a Mehrauli hillock, the monument overlooks the Qutub Minar, which appears totally bechara and defenceless in the heavy rain.