A day after HRD Minister Pallam Raju expressed concerns over future of Aakash, IT and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday said the project for the low-cost computing device is "alive and kicking" and work is on for its third and fourth versions.
"I don't want to comment on a distinguished colleague of mine. I only know that as far as we are concerned Aakash is alive and kicking. For me, it will provide the platform for the future and not just for children but for all citizens of India," Sibal said in response to queries on reports of uncertain future of Aakash at National Editors Conference.
Human Resource Development Minister MM Pallam Raju on Friday had said that production of Aakash is a challenge. Production is where where the failure has come in, he had said, adding that if the production had happened on time students would have had access to the device.
The Aakash project was Sibal's brainchild when he was the HRD Minister. The idea is to provide low-cost computing device at subsidised rate to students so that they can access Internet for educational purposes. Canadian company DataWind had bagged a contract to produce the first and second versions of the Aakash tablet.
Sibal said the HRD Ministry talked about about their contract with Datawind.
"Now, Datawind may have or may have not complied with the terms of contract. That is between them (the HRD Ministry) and Datawind and they can decide what they want to decide...That has nothing to do with me," Sibal said.
The first version of Aakash was rolled out in October 2011 and later in 2012 the second version was launched.