The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu
on Thursday began a $2 billion giveaway of free laptops to every
student in state-run schools and colleges over the next five years.
The scheme was an election promise
made by the local AIADMK party of former movie starlet J.
Jayalalithaa, which came to power in state polls in May. The plan
aims to provide laptops to nearly seven million students across the
state, including 900,000 in the first year.
Jayalalithaa's administration has
earmarked 10.2 billion rupees ($2.1 dollars) to fund the project, but
critics say the money would be better spent on social welfare
A senior lawyer in the state
capital Chennai had petitioned the Supreme Court to impose a stay on
the laptop handout on the grounds that it amounted to electoral
"bribery" and a corrupt use of state funds. Speaking at
Thursday's launch, which was marked by an initial giveaway of 6,600
laptops purchased from Acer and Hewlett-Packard, Jayalalithaa hit out
at those who had sought to "demean" the scheme.
sole aim is to make people economically independent", she said.
"No one should trivialise it".
As well as laptops, the
government is distributing free electric fans, food mixers, goats and
cows to tens of thousands of impoverished families in villages across
(Source: Indiatimes News