As part of the Vidyashree scheme, 3,000 laptops are ready for distribution, as State schools reopen with digital and online classes on Tuesday.
These laptops have been supplied by two empanelled companies for the scheme being implemented by Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) and Kudumbashree Mission. Nearly 200 laptops had already been distributed.
Vidyashree was introduced to facilitate purchase of laptops following the introduction of online classes last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was estimated that a majority of the children who did not have facilities for online classes were from homes of Kudumbashree members.
Though 3,000-odd laptops had reached KSFE, the distribution was held up owing to the lockdown restrictions. An entire Kudumbashree unit from which any of the members had evinced interest in purchase of laptops was required to reach a KSFE branch and sign a tripartite agreement and hand over a promissory note as per the agreement. Moreover, KSFE branches were open only three days a week, and with limited number of employees.
However, after discussions, it has now been decided that only Kudumbashree members who are to get the laptops need come and sign the agreements.
The distribution is expected to be completed this week. More laptops are expected arrive this week. KSFE sources said the companies would deliver at least half the orders placed by next week.
The companies have been asked to ramp up production. It takes 12 weeks for the laptops to be supplied after purchase orders are generated. However, the pandemic has hit the companies’ pre-production. This too had led to delays, sources said.
Kudumbashree officials said they were exploring the possibility of one-time payment of ₹1,500 instead of paying three monthly instalments before the beneficiaries become eligible to select the laptop they wanted.
While 92,228 Kudumbashree members have joined the scheme, only 64,307 have made the laptop selection. Purchase orders have been generated for 54,450 laptops.