India developing $10 laptop

July 29th, 2008 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) After displaying its prowess in developing the world’s cheapest car, India is on track to rolling out the world’s cheapest laptop computer that could cost as low as $10, a top official said here Tuesday. Minister of State for Human Resource Development D. Purandeswari said research was being conducted to develop the laptop, especially for use by students, which will cost all of $10.

“Research in this direction is being already carried out at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras,” she told the e-India annual summit on information and communication technologies.

The laptop, when produced, will prove to be a breakthrough device that could solve the problems of low computer literacy and e-learning not only in India, but also the world over, she added.

Earlier this year, India’s Tata Group had unveiled the “Nano” that was touted as the world’s cheapest car costing all of $2,500 and the announcement had grabbed global headlines.

The cheapest laptop available today is at least 10 times costlier. The “Xo” sold by the Massachusetts-based non-government organization ‘One Laptop Per Child Foundation’ sells for $188.

The foundation, started by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) alumnus Nicholas Negroponte, aims to supply the low cost machines to the governments of developing countries for them to source it to school children.

But the Indian government rejected the offer in 2006, calling it an experimental model.

“India must not allow itself to be used for experimentation with children in this area,” the human resource ministry had stated then.

However the project was taken up by the Reliance Anil Dhirubahi Group to be implemented as a pilot in Maharashtra’s Khairat village.

Under this initiative, Reliance Communications will provide net connectivity, backbone, logistics, and support to the OLPC initiative. “The initiative aims at covering over 25,000 towns, and 6,00,000 villages in the country by 2008.”

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