India wants to develop a $10 laptop for students

Even the $100 laptop long envisioned by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) seems pricey in contrast to a $10 laptop announced this week in India.

Also aimed at school children, India's low-cost laptop is now being researched by two Indian think tanks, according to D. Purandeswai, India's Minister of State for Higher Education.

The Indian government is taking on the initiative to help students make the most out of information technology (IT), the minister said, speaking at a conference called e-India 2008.

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Purandeswai noted that IT is emerging as a catalyst for India's socioeconomic development.

"The government aims to provide 10-dollar laptops, and the research is on," she told the conference attendees," according to an account in the New Delhi-based Press Trust of India.

"In the coming years, [the] thrust will be on using [IT] to strengthen various modes of learning both in [the early grades of] school and at higher education levels."

A new government program supporting the initiative in India will be aimed at "providing connectivity [among] the learners to the 'Knowledge' World' in cyberspace," she said.

The organizations researching the $10 laptop include the Indian Institute of Sciences in Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras.

As previously reported in BetaNews, other Indian officials, appearing in other venues, have also been emphasizing the critical role played by IT in boosting India's economy.

In 2008, the IT industry contributed $50 billion to India's economy, and this amount is expected to double to more than $100 billion by 2110, said Lalit Dhingra, president of India's National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), speaking at the United Nations in New York City back in March of this year.

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