Over 1.44 lakh people have subscribed to the Vidyashree Chitty introduced jointly by the State Kudumbashree Mission and the Kerala State Financial Corporation, in which subscribers can buy the laptop of their choice costing around ₹15,000 after making three instalments of the monthly subscription amount of ₹500.
The scheme was introduced for Kudumbashree Mission members to make computers affordable and to create a level-playing field as online classes were extended in the wake of the pandemic spread. Kudumbashree members, who join the scheme, will have to pay ₹500 a month and can buy the computer of their choice after making three instalments (₹1,500). The scheme is spread over a total of 30 months.
While subscribers to the Vidyashree scheme can buy the laptop of their choice with the stipulated amount, those who join the scheme as a way to make savings can withdraw the money from the 13th month of the launch of the scheme.
It was estimated that of the 43 lakh schoolchildren in the State, around 2.65 lakh did not have enough facilities to access online classes and the majority of these children belonged to families of Kudumbashree members. The micro credit scheme for making laptops available to children evolved out of that need, said a Kudumbashree circular.
Though launched initially in June 2020, the scheme was stalled after the invitation by the Information Technology Department for competitive bids from laptop suppliers saw just one response. The department had to call for another round of bids in which four laptop suppliers responded.
The IT department did not choose the lowest bidder for the scheme. Instead, the subscribers can buy the laptop of their choice from any of the four suppliers – Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Coconics. The interest on the micro credits scheme will be jointly borne by the State government and KSFE.
An official of the Kudumbashree Mission said that the first of the laptops under the Vidyashree chitty was expected to be given away later this month as the formalities are now nearing completion. Laptops will be given through respective KSFE branches.