Despite "Made in China" allegations, Government to showcase Aakash 2 at UN
The Ministry of External affairs, Government of India will go ahead with it's schedule and showcase the low-cost Aakash 2 tablet at the United Nations today. Touted as "India's Innovation" , the Aakash 2 tablet has been surrounded by a serious controversy of late, after the reports of the tablet being "Chinese made" emerged. But, according to a report in the Economic times, the Joint Secretary at Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin said, "The decision to unveil the Aakash 2 at the United Nations (during India's Presidency of the UNSC) was taken after it was confirmed that the device would be formally unveiled by the Hon'ble President of India on November 11, 2012. Hence it will go ahead. Given its cost competitiveness, it aimed to bridge the digital divide by providing access to quality education for all. It was the successful implementation of this 'idea' and such technologies, that we intend to showcase, using the platform provided by the United Nations, which is a common practice amongst developing countries." Last week, Aakash 2 got into controversy as various reports surfaced online and suggested that Datawind, the company which has the responsibility of manufacturing these low-cost tablets, had actually picked up 10,000 of these tablets off shelves from some companies in China between October 26 and November 7. Denying these allegations, CEO of Datawinf, Suneet Tuli told PKR in an interview that, "Our business model is similar to that of Apple where we use subcontract manufacturers to build our products. So, these are built in facilities of our contractors. For the first 10k units for IIT, and for expediency sake we had the motherboards and kits manufactured in our Chinese subcontractor’s facilities, and then the units have been ‘kitted’ in China at various manufacturers for expediency, whereas the final assembly and programming has happened in India."
The Indian Government is expected to purchase 100,000 units of Aakash 2 from Datawind by the year-end. D Datawaind sells the Aakash 2 at Rs 2,263 per unit while, the government plans to subsidize it for students and sell it to them at half the price at Rs 1,132.