The irrepressible Mr. Sibal has done it again. He thinks that a high powered govt. committee can supervise the manufacture of a mil-spec Akash (Siblet – I have borrowed this name from @comicproject on Twitter) through BEL and ECIL for $45. Let me get this straight – a few current and retired bureaucrats who probably majored in English or Hindi Lit will now tell some folks at a sarkari company how to design a tablet and get it done. Secondly, he wants the tab to be Indegenized. This is getting beyond ridiculous to say the least.
Let’s count the reasons:
#1: While DataWind may not be the best manufacturer, why not eject them for someone better?
#2: Do we really thing that BEL and ECIL have the wherewithal to actually build a device that customers will like. Name the last consumer electronics box either of these companies built? The answer is none! Even Videocon would be better suited than either of these. I have closely observed the inner workings of BEL in an earlier life – not pretty! They might turn around and give the contract back to DataWind.
#3: Why MIL-SPEC? What the heck is IIT Jodhpur thinking?
#4: What’s with the $45 price – you can’t even buy a decent phone with it, let alone a tablet.
#5: Why the insistence on Indigenization? The current Akash imports about 70% of components and it is impossible to indigenize it any further unless India starts manufacturing chips, LCD screens and other related electronics overnight.
Bold vision is bold only if supported by a path to getting there. Otherwise, it just looks stupid and megalomaniacal.
This is exactly the reason why India needs its own Sony and disband the departments of science and technology and telecommunications, and others but that is another story!