As was expected, Datawind, the manufacturer who supplied MHRD with Aakash Tablets has been shown the door. The new & upgraded Aakash will not be sourced from them. As we had reported earlier, ITI along with C-DAC are now in-charge of procuring Aakash Tablets. Telecom & MHRD minister gave a statement yesterday:
There have been some problems with Datawind, I must confess. Therefore, I have got into the act. IT ministry has got C-DAC and ITI into the act and I am going to ensure that this product is fully indigenous and truly an Indian product.
He also confirmed that improved version of Aakash with upgraded hardware specs will cost the same as previous.
So essentially both the previous parties involved (IIT Rajasthan, the procurer & Datawind, the manufacturer) have been shown the door. We will now have to wait and watch as to how ITI & C-DAC perform this challenging task of building a fully indigenous & Indian Aakash.
We had earlier learnt that MHRD is planning to float a tender for millions of Aakash tablets in coming months, however with this new development we are not sure if the new tender will be floated, as the mandate has already been given to ITI & CDAC to develop it internally!
Datawind on their part have not yet fulfilled their earlier commitment of delivery of 100k Aakash Tablets. Only 30k have delivered, while rest of tablets were expected to be delivered by end of this month. However, with IIT Rajasthan expecting upgraded specs for the rest of them, it seems to be a logjam at this point of time. Datawind on their part have not given a clear statement if they will be providing rest of the Aakash tablets with upgraded specs.