The Canada-based DataWind Ltd. (DWL) bagged the tender for manufacturing and supplying the low cost Aakash Tablet in February 2011. This has to be designed and developed by IIT Rajasthan, manufactured by a local company selected by DWL, and marketed and sold by DWL.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development & Communications and Information Technology placed an order for supply of 1,00,000 Aakash Tablets on DataWind, which in turn sub-contracted Hyderabad based Quad Electronics Ltd. (Quad) to manufacture 50,000 tablets.
Quad produced only 20,000 in the first lot and DataWind lifted only 10,000. Of the 10,000, only 2,000 were supplied to IIT Rajasthan for detailed testing in October , 2011 and the ministry supplied 500 tablets to school students. When the evaluation revealed severe poor performance, Datawind stopped lifting anymore Aakash tablets from Quad.
Now, 500 tablets were given to students, and 2,000 to IIT Rajasthan for testing. What happened to the remaining 7,500?
Meanwhile, Quad has filed a suit against DataWind that it has not paid Quad even for the first 10,000 Tablets lifted from it. No payment has been made for the balance 40,000 of DataWind’s 50,000 order with Quad.
Now the question is, how much money was paid by the Ministry to DataWind for the supply of Aakash Tablets? Was it for 1,00,000, or 50,000 or 10,000 devices? Or was it for a totally different figure? How many Aakash II tablets were ordered to be supplied?
The ministry said that Aakash II tablet will be released in April-May 2012 and there is no sign of any launch so far. Meanwhile, DataWind is selling Ubislat 7, the commercial variation of Aakash II in the market.
When will we see Aakash II? No one has any idea!