Newly elected minister to hand out tablets

Newly elected Uttar Pradesh chief minister will distribute tablet computers to students that successfully pass grade 10 and 12.
Written by Manan Kakkar, Contributor

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.

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