The dream project of Akhilesh Yadav's government to distribute free laptops to intermediate pass students has attracted fancy from an unexpected quarter — software giant Microsoft.
The world's largest software company has roped in Mumbai-based Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) to conduct a study of the scheme launched by the Samajwadi Party government last year.
"A team of IMRB will be visiting the state capital tomorrow and have a meeting with the officials of Information Technology and Electronics, secondary education departments and UP Electronics Corporation Ltd (UPECL) to delve into details about the scheme," UPECL Managing Director Prabhat Mittal said.
The team would specially study Microsoft softwares loaded in the laptops and try to find out response on its functioning, he added.
The scope of IMRB team's study would be: objective of the scheme, its planning, tender process, procurement and distribution.
"The team will also meet the beneficiaries to whom laptops have been distributed so far and take their direct feedback as to what they feel about the scheme and how they are benefited by it," Mittal said.
The SP in its 2012 assembly election manifesto had promised to distribute free laptops and tablets to intermediate and high passout students in the state.
The government has given the contract of supplying laptops to Hewlett Packard (HP) at the rate of Rs 19,058 per piece.
"The government has set a target of distributing 15 lakh laptops to the students (inter passouts of 2012) in the current fiscal.
"So far we have dispatched three lakh laptops of which one lakh have been distributed in various districts including Lucknow, Varanasi, Bareilly besides others," Mittal said.
The senior officials of various department the team would also take feedback from the district level officials.