It is also being commented that the ‘Sakshat PC’ could very well turn out to a damp squib, something that would bring heaps of embarrassment. More sadly, it would indefinitely put off the possibility of bringing affordable computing to a vast body of students, especially in the semi-urban and rural India.
Can Kapil Sibal, the HRD minister who first touted the 35-dollar PC a few months ago, do something to ensure that the dream is not lost? Of course, yes.
Sibal will need to clearly articulate a functional will for the project, to begin with, not just the political will. A step in the direction would be to bring in the required level of transparency in terms of the features and capabilities required of the tablet device.
According to the discussions I’ve had with experts in the industry in the past, a 35-dollar basic tablet device would be doable from a bill-of-materials viewpoint, if sufficiently large volumes can be ensured–of the tune of 1 million or so.
Since Sibal is also in charge of Ministry of Communications and IT, he can further accelerate the project in terms of securing exemption of duties for the materials imported for the purpose.
As such, there may actually be no need to subsidise the device (I wonder why there is a discussion that subsidies to the tune of 75 percent would be required).
(See an earlier article on how the 35-dollar PC would be doable: http://www.businessandmarket.net/2010/07/10-pc-reality-check.html)
To make a service inquiry, click http://www.businessandmarket.net/p/your-inquiry.html