BHUBANESWAR: In a delayed move, the Higher Education Department has decided to revive the free laptop scheme for eligible Plus Two students under Biju Yuva Sashaktikaran Yojana. As per the decision, the students who scored well in 2014-15 and 2013-14 examinations would be given the laptops by August.
This was announced by Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahy on Thursday after a review meeting of the scheme. He said besides 15,000 students of 2014-15 batch, 203 students of 2013-14 session would be given laptops.
The Biju Yuva Sashaktikaran Yojana, an initiative under the Odisha Youth Policy, is aimed at covering 15,000 students, including those belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe, every year. When Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched it in August, 2013, 15,203 meritorious students who had passed the Plus Two examination that year were selected to get the gadgets.
However, only 15,000 could be distributed then. Last year, there was no distribution at all allegedly due to difference of opinion between the IT Department and the Higher Education Department over procurement and distribution.
The Higher Education Minister said due to technical problems, laptops could not be distributed to 203 students of 2013-14 session. “Last year, the distribution could not be completed for procurement problem. The department has decided to clear the backlog of these two years next month,” the Minister said. The department is yet to finalise a date and select students who will be accordingly informed, Panigrahy added. The gadgets have been procured for Rs 20,000 a unit.
It was also decided that the 15,000 students, who have excelled in the Plus Two examination held this year, would be given free laptops in the month of October. After the declaration of Plus Two results, the Council of Higher Secondary Education prepared a stream-wise list of the meritorious students who would receive the laptops.
The list of 10,000 general beneficiaries includes 3,500 students from Arts, 5,000 from Science and 1,500 from Commerce. Earlier this year, a technical committee was formed for evaluation of the technical specifications of the laptops and Odisha Computer Application Centre under the IT Department procured them.
Sources in the department said every year a budget of Rs 30 crore is allotted to the IT Department by the State Government for procurement of laptops under the Biju Yuva Sashaktikaran Yojana.