As part of the Vidyashree program, 3,000 laptops are ready for distribution, as public schools reopen Tuesday with digital and online classes.
These laptops were provided by two specialist companies under the program implemented by Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) and Kudumbashree Mission. Almost 200 laptops had already been distributed.
Vidyashree was introduced to make it easier to buy laptops following the introduction of online courses last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was estimated that the majority of children who did not have facilities for online classes came from homes of Kudumbashree members.
Although some 3,000 laptops have reached KSFE, distribution has been delayed due to lockdown restrictions. An entire unit of Kudumbashree from which one of the members had shown interest in purchasing laptops was needed to reach a branch of KSFE and sign a tripartite agreement and deliver a promissory note in accordance with the agreement. In addition, KSFE branches were only open three days a week and with a limited number of employees.
However, after discussions, it was decided that only Kudumbashree members who need to get the laptops should come and sign the agreements.
The distribution is expected to be completed this week. More laptops are expected to arrive this week. KSFE sources said the companies would deliver at least half of the orders placed next week.
The companies were invited to increase their production. It takes 12 weeks for laptops to be delivered after purchase orders are generated. However, the pandemic has hit pre-production companies. It also caused delays, according to sources.
Kudumbashree officials said they were exploring the possibility of a one-time payment of ₹ 1,500 instead of paying three monthly installments before recipients became eligible to select the laptop they wanted.
While 92,228 Kudumbashree members have joined the program, only 64,307 have made the choice of laptops. Purchase orders were generated for 54,450 laptops.