The government has so far distributed more than 1,82,000 laptops under Prime Minister’s Youth Laptop Scheme among students enrolled in HEC-recognized public sector universities and colleges across the country. The basic aim of the scheme is to promote the use of laptop and ICT for higher education and research by bridging the digital divide.
In a phased programme (2013-18), the government has planned to distribute 1,00,000 laptops and internet dongle devices each year among MS/MPhil, PhD, Masters, and Bachelors students. Total budget allocation for the five year programme stands at little more over Rs. 25 billion.
The first phase has been completed and in second phase around 82,000 laptops have been distributed among the eligible students. The distribution process is expected to be completed by January this year as around 2500 laptops are being distributed amongst eligible students on daily basis, Chairperson Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, Leila Khan said.
In an exclusive interview with reporter, she shared statistics of laptop scheme and said the process of delivery of laptops to universities under Phase-III of the programme has also been initiated and more than 10,000 laptops have been delivered. The third phase is expected to be completed by June this year, taking the total distribution of laptops to 0.3 million.
Leila Khan said the deadline for receiving applications under third phase has been extended up to 9th January 2017 to facilitate maximum number of eligible students all over the country. The Chairperson said more than 167,513 applications have been received so far under the third phase of the scheme. Moreover, she said the procurement of laptops and dongle devices for fourth phase has also been initiated to complete the process well in time.
Replying to a question, Leila Khan said there is no possibility of one student receiving more than one laptop under the scheme as there exists a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC)- based data bank of all laptop recipients. She said in order to promote Information Technology (IT) manufacturing industry and contribute significantly in country’s economy, first time in country’s history, Haier Pakistan, Vendor of the scheme, has established a state-of-the-art Laptop Assembly Plant in Lahore.
It merits mention here that the federal government is running six schemes under Prime Minister’s Youth Programme for socio-economic development of people, especially the youth. These schemes include Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loans Scheme, Prime Minister’s Interest Free Loan Scheme, Prime Minister’s Youth Skill Development Programme, Prime Minister’s Youth Laptop Scheme, Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement Scheme, and Prime Minister’s Youth Training Scheme. Leila Khan said Youth are benefitting substantially from all above-mentioned six schemes.