No, the headline is not wrong and I did not make a mistake and call the iPad an iPod! And I am well aware that iPad 3 is not yet out of the Apple stable.
It’s just that a circular from the Karnataka Legislative secretariat lists “iPod3″ among the list of demands made by its MLAs. Now, Apple doesn’t have such a model of its portable media player either.
So what’s the confusion?
According to The Times of India report, the secretariat has admitted that the circular “demanding IPod3″ was misspelt. They obviously meant the iPad 3.
Now, the bigger joke, of course, is that iPad 3 has not yet been launched by Apple. So why do the MLAs in Karnataka want a yet-to-be-launched gadget? Definitely as a one upmanship over their cousins in the Legislative Councils who were given the iPad 2 last month. But did they know iPad 3 has not yet been launched and there is no statement from Apple yet about its launch? Did they think adding “1″ would make them more advanced than their Legislative Council counterparts?
Jokes apart. Now, why in the world do our MLAs require iPads? Especially when most of them are not even tech savvy enough to make optimum use of even their smart phones or have operational email IDs?
Secondly, why should the tax payers’ money be used for providing them with the latest models of any such gadget coming out in the market? The TOI report says over Rs 35.17 lakh was spent on equipping all MLCs in Karnataka with iPad 2.
And, now the MLAs are demanding the Ipad 3 which, when launched finally, will obviously cost more. It will cost the state exchequer more than Rs 1.05 crore (going by current prices of the iPad 2) to fulfil this demand.
In 1989-99, the secretariat had given Rs 50,000 in cash to each member of the 11th Legislative Assembly to purchase computers, according to a Deccan Herald report. Later, members of the 12th Legislative Assembly who were not part of the 11th Assembly were also given the money to purchase computers. But a number of them have not even submitted the necessary bills to show that they have indeed made the purchase. And to top it all, most do not even use them — the hi-tech gadgets gathering dust at home or being used by their sons and daughters for their personal use, of course.
The Deccan Herald report quotes Legislative Council chairman Shankaramurthy as defending the move: “We want to make the MLCs more productive. And this is possible by making them use modern technology. The device (iPads) will enable the members to access Internet and do their administrative works like sending letters to heads of departments and ministers online.”
Some time back, the Lok Sabha secretariat sanctioned Rs 50,000 for each member to buy an iPad in an effort to make its office paperless and the members tech-savvy. This came close on the heels of a similar move — iPads for all Rajya Sabha MPs to curtail use of paper. ”We are encouraging MPs to use iPads. This would save a lot of 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. Why were the MPs sanctioned Rs 50,000? Why were they paid more? The government may like to act generous and not bother for loose change, but Rs 3,100 for 790 MPs (245 for Rajya Sabha and 545 for Lok Sabha) means a whopping Rs 24,49,000. That’s not loose change for we the people.
2. How much paperless have the two Houses of Parliament become in the last few months? What is the reduction in paper cost? Is anyone keeping an account?
3. India is home to Akash — the world’s cheapest tablet — which was launched in October last year for just Rs 1,750 amid much fanfare. If productivity comes from making our legislators more tech savvy, then why aren’t they being given Akash? If our students can do with Akash — the government touted it to be the magic machine to equip millions of students across the country — why can’t our leaders, who by their own admission do not know how to use modern technology, need such expensive gadgets at our costs?