Six months after the school laptop scheme envisaging distribution of laptops to school children at Rs 18,000 was announced, the government has now started the tender process right from the beginning.
Over 1.2 lakh students who deposited a one-time instalment with Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) chitty have been waiting eagerly for months to get their laptops. According to the new decision, instead of granting the tender to the company that quotes the lowest rate, all companies which quote less than Rs 18,000 and comply with the technical criteria would be empanelled.
With this decision, the students will be able to choose laptops from among more than one company. The government intends to complete the new tender process at the earliest and place the first purchase order by February. The government has laid down the condition that the companies which are empanelled as part of the scheme should make laptops available to the students within 12 weeks of receiving the purchase order.
Many companies have pointed out that the time limit suggested by the government was too little. Two companies had demanded 16 months at the pre-bid meeting. Therefore the students are expected to get the laptops only by April. ASUS, HP, ACER, Intel and Coconics had participated in the pre-bid meeting.
The KSFE would provide a loan of Rs 15,000 for each laptop and the remaining Rs 3000 has to be given as one-time payment.