Thiruvananthapuram: It was with much fanfare the Kerala government announced the inaugral distribution of subsidised laptops to poor students. However, the ambitious project has not taken off since the distribution of 200 Coconic laptops on the inauguration day in February.
More than a lakh school students in Kerala are awaiting the cheap laptops the state government promised them a year ago. This followed the launch of virtual classes in light of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Kerala cabinet had approved the Vidyashree Student Laptop project to supply laptops at a lower rate with an interest-free loan in June 2020. Students related to Kudumbasree self-help group members can avail of the scheme to buy a laptop by paying monthly instalments of Rs 500 for 30 months. They are eligible to receive the laptops after paying three monthly installments.
As many as 1.37 lakh students have registered in the programme. As many as 86,876 students have enrolled on the Vidyashree portal and 54,398 of them have selected their preferred model.
However, the purchase orders were issued just a week ago. The companies have to supply laptops within 12 weeks of receiving the purchase orders. The companies have extended the last date for selling the laptops at a discounted price after the government requested it. March 31 was the last date.