Newly elected minister to hand out tablets

Newly elected minister to hand out tablets

Summary: Newly elected Uttar Pradesh chief minister will distribute tablet computers to students that successfully pass grade 10 and 12.


The recently announced election results for Uttar Pradesh are symbolic in more than one way since the state is considered to be one of the economically backward states. First up, Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav is now Uttar Pradesh's youngest chief minister. (A quick overview: Akhilesh Yadav's father was the chief minister before being defeated by rival politician Mayawati.) Samajwadi Party live streamed part of the swearing-in ceremony on their YouTube channel, signifying the growing awareness of newer ways to connect with the citizens. Akhilesh Yadav represents the next generation of political leaders in India, and keeping true to the "Gen Y" rhetoric, he will be distributing tablet computers to students who pass 10th and 12th grade.

This distribution of tablets is a new page in India's digital adoption. Since 2006, political organisation in South India—DMK—gave out color television sets to lure voters. (The election commission directed DMK to stop the distribution now.) While India is seeing several cheap tablets spamming the market, tablet computers getting into the hands of students is a step in bridging the digital divide. These cheap tablets might not be the best out there and they aren't meant to be, the intention here is to equip students with newer technologies. Netbooks have failed to pick up and while the Indian government has sanctioned $1000 for tablets for each parliamentarian, a $35 (or less) tablet for students still makes sense compared to no mobile computing device.

Consider it a publicity stunt or a cheap incentive, technology in the hands of more people in the country is for the better.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

Manan Kakkar

About Manan Kakkar

Telecommunication engineer with a keen interest in end-user technology and a News junkie, I share my thoughts while preparing for my Master's in Information Management.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Bribing students, and bribing voters?

    Sounds like a whole lot of sleaze and unethical behavior to me.
    • There's probably more to it than that

      I'm not sure I'd be giving even $35 tablets to high school students either, but it just might save money on textbooks. Given the poverty rate in India, it probably is not feasable to use them in the classroom and then to expect the parents of those students to buy their own.


      Besides, I don't think a lot of high school students are eligible to vote, or that the prospect of cheap tablets for 11th and 12th graders would change a lot of their parents' votes, much less those of people whose children won't be getting them.

      Further response:

      After rereading the article...

      The TV set distribution program was run by a different party (DMK, not Samajwadi) and I agree that it was probably a way to buy votes. It strikes me that there is a legitimate educational function in giving high school students tablets; I just don't think it's a very good use of taxpayer rupees (cost/benefit), or an effective way to buy votes.

      19th century American political bosses understood that the most effective way to buy votes was with jobs dependent upon the party's continued success at the polls (both civil service and contract work); a lesson which, sorry to say, hasn't been lost on their modern successors (of either party). Thus, Democrats try to create jobs for their loyal copartisans by means of increased social spending, while Republicans try to create jobs for theirs by means of increased military spending (and both use the pork barrel as a form of party patronage/discipline).
      John L. Ries
      • Read the article again...

        The bribing of voters was through color tv sets, not tablets.

        However, tablets to students who will be eligible to vote soon, can be considered another means for bribing, and especially when the parents of those students also vote. It's like killing two birds with one stone.