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Even as the common masses wait for the mythical ultra low-cost Aakash tablet, IT and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has started talking about another 'low-cost revolutionary device' - a GPS-enabled wristwatch that is supposed to ensure women's safety.
While talking to the media at an event in Delhi, Sibal said he wants a wristwatch, which should have feature such as video recording, alarm and capable of calling up dedicated lines – and all that should come in a price less than Rs. 1,000.
The minister recently revealed the government has already reached out to telecom equipment manufacturer ITI to manufacture the GPS-enabled wristwatch. The first prototype is expected to be ready by mid-2013.
The concept for the GPS-enabled wristwatch comes in the wake of the recent Delhi gang-rape incident, which triggered nationwide protests demanding measures to ensure women's safety and stricter laws against sexual crimes in the country.
While the intention behind the GPS-enabled wristwatch is definitely noble, the promise made by Mr. Sibal unfortunately looks to be far from being reality. Taking into account the record of the Aakash tablet project, it is really difficult for us to believe that GPS-enabled wristwatch with above-mentioned features will ever see light of the day.
It's not that GPS-enabled wristwatches aren't there in the market or a device with such features isn't feasible. But technically, the device with GPS and video capture capabilities looks impossible at the given below-Rs. 1,000 price point. And even if the government squeezes in all of them, are we going to compromise with the quality for the sake of the price?
The government has been left red-faced over its unfulfilled promises and a spate of controversies around the Aakash tablet. While the Aakash 1 was a huge let down, the Aakash 2, with improved features, is yet to see the light of the day. Read Aakash 2 a 'Made in China' device? and Aakash 2 tablet: Outdated even before launch?
The Aakash project debacle is a great example for why the government shouldn't make tall claims and hyped-up promises, which in reality always ends up as a pipe dream, and only very few make it to real-world success stories. Why there's an obsession with delivering the 'cheapest' product to the world?
Such unfulfilled and unrealistic promises have only dented India's reputation at the international stages. But what is the solution? First of all, there has to be more clear vision behind such projects and greater focus should be given on execution – where we have struggled badly. One proper planned and executed project could revive faith of people in the government and also set a global example.
That being said, is India being too ambitious by coining such 'unrealistic' devices? Is it high time, we deliver and not just boast about the 'cheapest' tech marvels? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below: