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3 more IITs to work for making world's cheapest Aakash tablet cheaper

imageNEW DELHI: The government plans to involve three more IITs in the world's cheapest Aakash tablet PC project to make it more indigenous and further lower its price.

Apart from IIT Rajasthan, which is spearheading the project, IIT Mumbai, IIT Madras and IIT Kanpur would also be roped in for the project, sources in the HRD Ministry said.

The development follows after a meeting chaired by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal yesterday where senior officials from the Ministry as well as from Department of IT were present.

The sources said much emphasis was laid on indigenisation of the tablet. At present, several components including the processor are procured from outside.

The aim is to give shape to the indigenisation plan within the next two years and make the product 90 per cent Indian. At the same time, emphasis will be laid on further lowering the prices of the device, they said. At present, the device is available to students at Rs 1,100 after government subsidy.

Earlier, the HRD Ministry had decided that the tendering process for rolling out the improved version of Aakash, will be handled by the Department of Information Technology.

This followed after differences cropped up between IIT Rajasthan and Datawind, the manufacturer of the tablet, over the issue of enhanced specification demands.

The HRD Ministry has already said that it will require an additional 22 crore units of Aakash and for this fresh tenders will be issued enabling other companies along with Datawind to also get a chance.

Several PSUs and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing are also expected to chip in to roll out the second phase of the Aakash. The speed of the device will come at 800 MHz instead of 300 MHz at present.

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