Over 10.5 lakh students have been denied what was promised by The State Government – to provide free laptops and notepads, the reason given is that there is no budgetary allocation for this.
In his joint address to both houses of the state legislature in January last, governor H R Bhardwaj had said laptops and notepads would be provided to PU students across the state. The Congress had also promised free laptops to PU students in its manifesto.
However, in his budget presented later in April, chief minister Siddramaiah confined the laptop largesse to scheduled caste and tribe students pursuing engineering, medicine, journalism and doctoral studies. The government also promised special laptops to the visually challenged.
The announcements have left the education department in a state of panic as the . For, the department has not been provided any budgetary support to fulfill the promise, official sources confirmed.
The sources put the financial requirement for providing laptops to PU students anywhere between Rs 210 crore to Rs 300 crore based on the models to be chosen.
Asked about this on Monday, CM Siddaramaiah said: “We do not propose to implement it this year. We still have four more years. We’ll implement our promises in a phased manner within these four years.”
The Congress in Karnataka was following in the footsteps of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which have been distributing free laptops to PU students. The UP government reportedly spent Rs 830 crore on purchasing 4.4 lakh laptops. The state unit of the BJP too had, in its Assembly election manifesto, promised to distribute free laptops and tablets to PU and graduate students if it came to power.
Meanwhile, the government has also deferred the implementation of its promise to provide sanitary napkins to girl students.
Date: April 29, 2014