MPs Go Green at Our Cost, Vote for iPads!

Urgent Requirement: Need an iPad to read stories on inexpensive swadeshi tab releases

Urgent Requirement: Need an iPad to read stories on inexpensive swadeshi tab releases

Go green. Paperless. Print this email, only if you really need to. Save paper, save trees.

Good stuff — good for the environment. Especially in a country with over a billion people, where land is hard to find for people to build houses, let alone save some “room” for the trees.

So, when we hear the news that the Rajya Sabha MPs are voting to go paperless — that’s like icing on the cake. Finally! Our ministers have woken up to the environmental cause. Medha Patkar, where art thou? Today, is your day! Yay!

Errm… hang on! Too much information for just a common man in a population of over a billion people (yes, I said that already) to digest so fast. So, what’s the real deal, the cynic in me asks?

How is it that they plan to go paperless?

The news is, Rediff reports, folks at our honourable National Informatics Centre (NIC) have developed “the software that facilitates these devices to access documents” (that our beloved MPs need to access).

Good move! NIC, finally, you came through with flying colours. My first guess would have been it’s some Windows software (oh, our NIC is full of amazing Microsoft .Net developers) that can run on XP, Windows 7 and the like.

So “these devices”, are they netbooks? Fine, a netbook can’t cost more than Rs 20,000. Compare it to the expensive and shiny state-of-the-art desktop computers our MPs get every term they get elected, which half of them probably don’t even know how to switch on, let alone use. Netbooks will be a much cheaper option — easier on us tax payers’ pockets too. Now, we can’t be so selfish to only think of taxes that we pay! Well let’s logically rephrase: for the MPs, a netbook, which weighs around a kilo, is not too bulky to move around with.

Is that it?

You wish! Go back to the Rediff report again, and this time, allow me to cite a reference. The report starts with: “Members of Parliament will now be able to access Parliamentary documents on their Apple iPads and Samsung tablets — Samsung Galaxy Tab.”

Eh?

Wait, there’s more: “The committee on provision of computer equipment to members of Rajya Sabha has enhanced the financial entitlement of members by Rs 50,000 to facilitate purchase of the approved e-reader compatible devices (Apple iPad2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab) to reduce their dependency on paper copies of Parliamentary documents.”

Did I read that right? “Approved e-reader” — I guess this is the software that NIC has developed — compatible devices are iPads and Galaxy Tabs? Rs 50,000 to choose their own tab?

Why the heck did those cheap Netbooks come to my mind to begin with? MPs are people too — why should they be denied of the gizmos that we-the-people get to use/enjoy/show-off? Netbooks have no class!

The only difference is we-the-people pay out of our pockets to buy these gizmos to use/enjoy/show-off.

Are the MPs also? Really?

If not, who gave them the right to decide they could buy Rs 50,000 worth of gizmos without asking we-the-people whom they represent?

How exactly will this expenditure benefit this country of we-the-people?

You know what? Netbooks were also too much for them (but of course, they are free to buy anything out of their pocket).

Whatever happened to the glorified $35 tablet that our honourable minister Kapil Sibal announced exactly a year back? The news was sort of a worldwide hit! Here’s what one of the top tech sites Gizmodo had reported: “Indian authorities expect to be able to make and sell the chunky computer for $35 at first, before economies of scale bring that down to $20 — and eventually $10. But it won’t be a stripped-down, feature-light machine — the impressive hardware spec includes support for video conferencing, PDF and multimedia compatibility, Internet access (with Flash!) and much more.”

And the guys at Gizmodo aren’t really kidding, allow me to reproduce the official Press Information Bureau release scan here (courtesy Trak.in).

Media release on the $35 tablet by Press Information Bureau, GoI

Media release on the $35 tablet by Press Information Bureau, GoI

Seems like a charity move for the students who don’t have the means to buy tablets for Rs 50,000?

Sarcasm aside, whatever happened to it Mr Sibal? And why aren’t our honourable MPs be given a swadeshi product — after all, they only need to run an e-reader application on it? Am, sure the NIC guys can make their application compatible with this once much-publicised tablet. Swadeshi software running on swadeshi hardware. Nutshell: Swadeshi technology used by our swadeshi MPs.

But, no. I guess that’s kind of low-life for our mantris sahibs and sahibas!

Makes me rethink my career move. Should have joined politics, really! I want to be a free-loader, too.

PS: Whatever happened to the Bharat Operating System that C-DAC was developing? Why do the ministers get to use Windows on their shiny, expensive, state-of-the-art deskops, when they have a swadeshi operating system? Me wonders!

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About Madcap Loon

Just like the song, "...well, the madcap laughed at the man on the border; hey ho, huff the Talbot", people _claim_ this one, too, is "lost" most of the time. Contrary to popular belief he, however, is quite a head-bang and air-guitar master. Some feel, it's quite a surprise how such a "lost" type could just wake up one day and take a fancy for Free & Open Source Software (FOSS). Oh well...
2 comments
Basudha Das
Basudha Das

This is not expenditure..this is investment... they cant pocket all the money and keeep it for the children... Thoda investment to karna ki padega.......

Atanu Datta
Atanu Datta

Exactly my point! These ministers are ready for the Recycle Bin.

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  7. [...] paper,” Lok Sabha secretary general T K Vishwanathan was quoted in a ToI report. (Also read: MPs Go Green at Our Cost, Vote for iPads!)Point taken. But I have a few points to make.1. The fully loaded 64GB iPad 2 comes for Rs 46,900. [...]