India has come up with a 35-dollar touch-screen "laptop" -- a computing prototype that it aims to make available to students from elementary schools to universities.
The gadget, developed by the elite Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science, is part of a push to give students a better education and technical skills needed to boost India's economic growth.
The first users are expected to be university students with introduction of the Linux-based computing device targeted for next year.
The ministry is going to install broadband Internet at all of its 22,000 colleges so students can use the 1,500-rupee (35-dollar) device, government spokeswoman Mamta Verma told AFP on Friday in New Delhi.
The tablet gadget, which can be run on solar power, is equipped with an Internet browser, video-conferencing capability and a media player, among other facilities.
"This is part of the national initiative to take forward inclusive education," Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters on Thursday.
"The solutions for tomorrow will emerge from India," he said.
Sibal said the cost of the motherboard, chip, processing and other components cost a total of around 35 dollars but the government may subsidise 50 percent of the price for students.
Sibal said the government, which hopes the cost of the device can eventually fall to 10 dollars, is in discussions with global manufacturers to start mass production of the device.
India, whose 63 percent literacy rate lags far behind many other developing nations, such as China with 94 percent, is making efforts to improve its troubled education system, which lacks investment in schools and teachers.
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