Mumbai, August 7, 2015: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has approved a proposal to distribute 22,799 tablet PCs to class 8th students across all municipal schools in the city.
The proposal was passed yesterday by the standing committee of Shiv Sena-ruled BMC, despite much opposition from other parties which termed it as "farce" and "unnecessary" as the tablet PCs did not have Wi-Fi facility or 3G service.
"A tablet without internet is a farce as we are in the age of connectivity. The Shiv Sena is fooling everyone with this tablet by spending tax payers' money," MNS group leader in BMC, Sandeep Deshpande alleged.
"Sena wants to make the whole city WiFi-enabled, but why is it not providing the facility to children who attend their own (municipal) schools?" he asked.
Sena's youth wing leader Aditya Thackeray had last week met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed plans on how the Digital India campaign could be given a boost by his pet-project of giving tablet PCs to students.
Leading a delegation of Shiv Sena MPs, Thackeray had said the tablet, consisting of syllabus and notes, could help in reducing students' burden of schools bags.
NCP leader and party's Mumbai unit president Sachin Ahir also criticised the Sena's ambitious project and demanded to scrap it, saying there were many other issues to be resolved first.
"BMC schools have seepage problems in rainy days, they don't have proper standard of education to make optimum use of tablet. I fail to understand why BMC is running after this wastage of money," said Ahir.
However, according to BMC, the project has all the potential to serve its purpose.
"The tab is for educational propose and meant for children. It would have all syllabus and educational content for them," said Additional Municipal Commissioner Pallavi Darade, who is in-charge of municipal schools.
She also clarified that the tabs can be updated later as and when there is a need.
"Right now there is no immediate need for Wi-Fi and 3G. As we use it and understand its further requirements, we would further update it," she added.