BENGALURU: A free laptop scheme for all undergraduate students studying in government and aided colleges, announced by former chief minister Siddaramaiah and which was to come into effect from the 2017-18 academic year, has been put on hold due to paucity of funds. Earlier, only Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students were eligible under the scheme. This was later extended to all students.
Department of Collegiate Education Commissioner Dr Manjula N said, “The free laptop distribution scheme is on hold for the current academic year as no funds were allocated. We have just about `90 crore, but we need over `280 crore for the scheme.”
The promised laptops were not distributed to students in the 2017-18 academic year too. Though necessary funds were available that year, no bidder responded to the tender called by the collegiate education department. Even after extending the last date to apply for the tender, no company has came forward.
“As there was no response, we had closed the tender for that academic year,” Manjula explained.
Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister G T Devegowda said a request has been made to state government seeking funds to implement the scheme for the current academic year. “We have requested the government for funds and are awaiting a reply to call for tenders for supply of laptops,” he added.
- 1.5 lakh students estimated to be covered under the scheme
- Scheme ran into a controversy as the former commissioner for collegiate education raised objections over then minister’s decision to give piecemeal tenders
- Issue even reached the then Chief Secretary
- A House committee was formed to look into the matter