Director general, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing says that Aakash IV will be made in India product
Pratap Vikram Singh | January 6, 2014
Professor Rajat Moona is a graduate in electrical engineering from IIT Kanpur and holds a PhD degree in computer science and automation from IISc Bangalore. He is a teacher and a scientist with several patents and research papers to his credit. As the director general of the centre for development of advanced computing (C-DAC), he has been instrumental in finalising the specifications for Aakash IV. In an email interaction with Pratap Vikram Singh, Moona talks about the much awaited low-cost tablet and the change in the distribution strategy.
Has there been any further modifications in Aakash IV tablets? Can you tell us briefly about the key specifications?
The upcoming Aakash IV will have a built-in support for mobile 2G networking and 3G/4G through external dongles. The tablet is expected to run on latest stable Android version and dual bootable GNU/Linux distribution powered by a processor with 1GB Ram, 4GB memory expandable up to 32GB. It offers 7-inch LCD display with at least 800x480 resolutions with 16 bit or higher colour depth or more sporting video/photo camera (front-facing) with a resolution of 0.3 M pixel (VGA) or higher and weighs less than 500 gm. The width, height and thickness would be less than 7.5 X 5 X 0.6 inches. It offers good battery life with minimum five hours on web browsing and comes with one-year warranty.
How is it going to be distributed? Are you decentralising the supply system?
Aakash IV will be distributed by the respective state authorities, who will procure the tablets directly through directorate general of supplies and disposals (DGS&D) rate contract. Any indenter can directly place order through the approved vendors.
There are reports that the government is going to come up with a tender for procurement of 22 lakh tablets valuing over 300 crore. When and how are you going to do the procurement?
As per the preliminary enquiry and the development of various e-governance applications in education, health and citizen centric services, it is estimated that about two million users would require tablet. In order to create a healthy competition among the vendors, it is proposed that multiple vendors are empanelled through a process under the DGS&D rate contract. The potential users for Aakash IV would directly place orders through respective departments.
Who all are the target audience?
The proposed Aakash IV would be a useful gadget for the school children for browsing educational contents, such as text books, lab experiments, and small programming exercises also. College students use such gadgets for browsing the internet for various academic resources and e-books, and also programming in C++, Java, etc. languages. This device will also be useful to most of the school children, college students and other citizens for browsing e-governance services.
Will Aakash IV be a made in India product?
Aakash IV will be made in India product and the DeitY notification for the Preferential Market Access policy (PMA) for Tablet PC shall be applicable in this regard.
What will be the final price?
The actual price would be decided through a competitive bidding process and notified by the DGS&D rate contract process. The subsidy, if any, on the price thus notified could be provided by the respective schools, colleges, government departments, as per their schemes for specific purpose.
What all apps the tablet will have? Will it vary according to the user? Are you adding some apps specifically for the student community?
The apps will be specific to the end users. A special app store is proposed to be developed for student community which will allow students to download and use the app as per their requirements and interest.
Please elaborate on the roles of C-DAC, IIT Mumbai and Chennai and DGS&D?
C-DAC, IIT Mumbai and IIT Chennai along with experts from HRD ministry has drafted the technical specifications of Aakash IV. C-DAC is also responsible for testing the Aakash IV tablets submitted by prospective vendors and issue certification. DGS&D is responsible for vendor empanelment; state authorities can directly approach them.
Will it also be available for anyone who wants to buy it and at what price?
Any individual can also directly procure from the vendor as per the prevailing market determined prices.
(This story appeared in January 1-15, 2014 issue of the magazine.)