Aakash 2 Controversy: Aakash 2 not ‘Made in India’ but ‘Made in China’
New Delhi: The launching of Aakash tablet was described as a milestone in Indian history by the Indian government as it is made in India. But according to some sources, Aakash 2 which was launched by President Pranab Mukherjee on 11th November, 2012 is manufactured and China.
Li Junhao, president of Trend Grace based in Shenzhen said that DataWind only sells the Aakash computers but the manufacturing of it is done by many several Chinese companies. This can be known by the invoices sent to DataWind. DataWind was given the contract of manufacturing 1,00,000 Aakash tablets to be given to college and university students in India.
According to Mr. Li DataWind purchases tablets from them which are ready for sale. In a telephone interview he informed that all the components and parts of Aakash tablet are produced in China. He claims that their company obtains the touch screen from another Chinese company and all the other parts are made by them. Representatives of another couple of Chinese companies have also said that the Aakash 2 tablets are assembled by them.
Responding to questions asked whether Aakash’s components are produced in China, Suneet Singh Tuli of DataWind said in an email that Aakash 2 is designed by DataWind. He claims that all the mechanical parts, mother board and software for Aakash 2 are developed and designed by DataWind. He informed that the touch screens are also manufactured by the company. He said motherboards and kits for the recent shipment of Aakash 2 tablets that were sent to IIT Bombay were manufactured in China by DataWind in a Chinese Subcontractors facility. Assembling and programming of the tablets however was done by them, he said.
Aakash project has been facing controversies since the beginning. The claim of India that it could make a tablet for affordable price to be given to the students was considered as a national pride. The news that some components of it are made in China may be a blow to the image of India. The government will spend Rs. 2,263 on each tablet and students will be given the tablets at subsidy prices.
Kalong technology another Hong Kong based company said that it has manufactured 500 tablets on the order of DataWind. He said that all the parts of the tablet are manufactured in China and loading of Android operating system is also done by them.
Dasen International Electronics is another company that informed that DataWind bought tablets from them. A Project manager of the company said that the tablets are assembled in China.
DataWind was given that contract for delivering 1,00,000 tablets by the end of December and if it fails to do so, the company may have to face legal actions. DataWind has subcontractors in India but they could not deliver the 10,000 tablets required for the event in which President Pranab Mukherjee was to unveil Aakash 2. Thus 10,000 tablets were brought from China, informed a professor of IIT Bombay who leads the Aakash project. The subcontractors for DataWind in India are the VMC Systems, Secunderabad; Digital Circuits based in Ahmadabad; Vinyas Innovative Technology, Mysore and the fourth one is based in Noida. Mr Tuli of DataWind said that all the four subcontractors produced 3,000 units per day.