Coronavirus: UP defers Rs 150 cr plan to buy 160,000 tablet computers

The government had approved an outlay of Rs 150 crore to this end.
The Uttar Pradesh government has postponed the final bidding for the procurement of about 160,000 tablet computers to be given to the state basic school principals owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

While, the state has tentatively fixed the next bidding date on March 25, it is likely to be further extended given the recent lockdown of public transports, offices and other business establishments due to curb the spread of the disease.

The UP basic education department proposed to provide tablets to the principals of all the basic schools for keeping tab on the attendance of teachers, midday meal scheme and other government mandated services.

The government had approved an outlay of Rs 150 crore to this end. The proposed procurement of 160,000 tablets is touted as the biggest in India with nearly 40 companies, including all the major global and local suppliers viz. Samsung, Lenovo, Datamini, Idemia etc, participating in the pre-bid meeting.

“We have fixed March 25 for the final bidding process. However, we may have to postpone it further given the present circumstances. We will soon take a call in this regard,” UP basic education director general Vijay Kiran Anand told Business Standard here.

The date for the final technical and financial bidding was earlier fixed on March 18, however, it was deferred to March 25, since the representatives of the interested companies had expressed their inability to travel to Lucknow given the suspension of flights and other services.

So far, 27 coronavirus positive cases have been reported in UP, of which nine have already been successfully treated even as the Yogi Adityanath government plans to ramp up the total number of isolation beds to 10,000 in the next couple of days from 2,000 at present.

On Saturday, the government had announced a financial package of Rs 353 crore to give cash handouts to estimated 3.53 million daily wage earners and labourers, who are understood to be hit due to coronavirus.

These beneficiaries, comprising 2.03 million labourers registered with the UP labour department and 1.5 million rickshaw pullers, hawkers and kiosk owners, would be paid a lump sum of Rs 1,000 directly into their bank accounts.

The government said those facing loss of livelihood but excluded in any government or cash handout schemes could also get similar relief on the basis of the recommendation of the respective rural or urban local bodies administration.

The state has decided to give free food grain for the months of April and May to more than 8.38 million widow, old age and handicap pensioners next month.

The 16.53 million beneficiaries enrolled under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) and Antyodaya would also be paid a month’s free food grain comprising 20 kg and 15 kg of wheat and rice respectively.

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