MP govt yet to deliver on smart phones promise to students

A year after the Madhya Pradesh government promised to provide smart phones to more than 1.4 lakh regular college students in Madhya Pradesh, the government is yet to deliver on the promise.

The government, which failed to complete the tender process for distributing smart phones to students two times in the past, now plans to float a tender for the third time to fulfil its promise.

“The tender process will be initiated again, as we had received objection on the previous tender process. We will soon invite a tender for both the first and second year students,” said Uma Shankar Gupta, minister for higher education.

Earlier, after failing to complete the first tender process — in which only two companies had shown interest — the higher education department, through the Madhya Pradesh electronics development corporation (MPEDC), had floated the second tender in December 2014.

The department had also written a letter to all the government colleges for submitting the list of eligible students till January 28. But eight months after the colleges submitted their lists, the department has failed to distribute smart phone to the student.

According to MPEDC sources, the higher education department has put the process of distribution of smart phones on hold, as the company that won the bid was providing phones that are not popular in the market.

Meanwhile, students enrolled last year are still awaiting the phones even as a new batch has already been admitted to first year graduation courses.

“Government had promised to provide smart phones to motivate us to attend the college regularly and to help us in e-learning. After waiting for months, I have purchased a phone on my own,” said Anuj Upadhyaya, a second year student of Hamidia Government College.

Another second year student from Sarojni Naidu Government Girls College Akshita said, “The students, who belong to underprivileged family, were really excited for smart phones, but now they have no hope.”

However, going by the minister’s response, there is still hope that the government will deliver on its promise. But when will the students get smart phones, only time will tell.