PUDUCHERRY: The Territorial AINRC government is in a tight spot with regards to the implementation of the free laptop scheme, which was to be launched during the Students’ Day celebration at Government Higher Secondary School at Kirumampakkam on July 15, along with the inauguration of the buildings. But, the scheme had failed to take off and the Students Day celebration was also cancelled.
Chief Minister N Rangasamy had earlier announced the laptop scheme for higher secondary students of government schools would be launched on July 15 and 12,500 students of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 batches were to be given laptops.
But, the distribution has since been cancelled, reportedly because of paucity of funds. Even the expenditure sanction for the scheme, running into crores of rupees, is yet to come through. Though the CM had favoured diversion of funds sanctioned by the Central government, officials in the administration were not in favour of it, said sources. There is confusion over the implementation of the scheme with the government reconsidering its present form after several divergent voices were raised, followed by agitations seeking laptops to all students from the year 2011-2012 as well as for college students.
The Congress has charged the government with adopting ‘discriminatory and deficient’ policy by planning to distribute free laptops to only students of higher secondary classes. “The government had announced during the formation of the Ministry that all students would be given laptops from the 2011-2012 academic year,” said former Education Minister K Lakshminarayanan.
The Students Federation of India (SFI) has been staging several agitations since July 13, demanding laptops for all the students from 2011-2012. Students were questioning the government quoting the AINRC election manifesto in which the party promised to provide free laptops to all the students.
Under these circumstances, the government is forced to have a re-look at the scheme. There is the issue of financial implication. Being an election year, the votebank of students cannot be ignored as the party had benefitted hugely in the previous elections, said sources.