The Tamil Nadu government has selected six vendors to supply laptops for its free laptop programme. According to industry sources, the state administration has issued letters of acceptance to six of the 19 companies that bid for the project. These include Chinese personal computer manufacturer Lenovo that emerged as the lowest bidder for the programme.
Apart from Lenovo, the Tamil Nadu government has issued LoAs to HCL Infosystems, Acer India, Wipro, Hewlett-Packard and Kolkata-based RP Infosystems which manufactures personal computers under the ‘Chirag’ brand.
All these vendors have been asked to sign the contract and furnish bank guarantees following which they will be given the purchase order, said sources in one of the bidding companies.
In terms of quantity, Lenovo would supply 300,000 laptops, while Acer and HCL would supply about 200,000 laptops each. Bangalore-based PC manufacturer Wipro would supply about 50,000 laptops and RP Infosystems has been asked to supply around 75,000 laptops.
Said to be the biggest-ever order in the government space in India, the free laptop scheme is part of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s pre-poll promise to voters. As part of the scheme, her government now aims to distribute 906,000 laptops to students in the state’s aided schools and colleges during the current academic year. The state has laid a budget outlay of about '1,150 crore for this scheme, the orders for which will be executed in the next four months.
The 912,000-odd laptops are the first phase of providing 6.8 million laptops to students in the next five years that could cost nearly '10,200 crore. The government sector is emerging as one of the largest spenders on information technology owing to a thrust of late on e-governance. Recently, the Gujarat government has begun executing a project as a part of which it is giving free desktops to government-run schools. Acer has been chosen as the hardware partner for the project, for which it is supplying 77,000 desktops to the Gujarat government.