DIT gears up to handle upgraded Aakash-II tendering process

HRD Ministry has entrusted the IIT to develop and procure the tablet.

New Delhi: The tendering process for rolling out the improved version of the world's cheapest tablet PC, Aakash, will be handled by the Department of Information Technology, official sources said.

The development comes in the wake of differences between IIT Rajasthan and Datawind, the manufacturer of the tablet PC, over the issue of enhanced specification demands.

HRD Ministry has entrusted the IIT to develop and procure the tablet.

Currently, the development and manufacturing of all the IT and electronic products is governed by Department of IT under the Ministry of Communications and IT, headed by Kapil Sibal who also holds HRD portfolio.

HRD Ministry has already said it will require an additional 22 crore units of Aakash, and to manufacture Aakash in such large numbers, fresh tenders will be released enabling other companies along with Datawind to also get a chance, the sources said.

Aakash, bought under the HRD Ministry's National Mission on Eduction through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) project, is available to students for Rs 1,100 after government subsidy.

The Letter of Credit to Datawind, in the meantime, has been given an extension till March. The vendor, which had won the contract to supply one lakh device, would be rolling out the next lot of the upgraded devices, sources said.

A meeting is scheduled for tomorrow to fine tune the loose ends concerning the project and issuing of the fresh tenders for Aakash 2.