The Federal government under the leadership of PM Imran Khan decides to scrap the former government’s Prime Minister Laptop scheme, The News reports.
This development surfaced when Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry disclosed in a briefing that many projects of previous government including Prime Minister Laptop Scheme and Danish Schools Project would be eradicated except the Benazir Income Support program.
The Prime Minister Laptop scheme along with other youth programs received their fair share of Rs. 20 Billion in the 2017-2018 budget. Since its inception in 2013, a plethora of corruption scandals surfaced including irregular taxations, late delivery charges, favors to the contractor and fake excise duties.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has also started an inquiry against Ahad Cheema (former DG LDA) for committing fraud in this laptop scheme during his tenure as higher education secretary.
Ahad Cheema is considered responsible for buying laptops for Rs 38,000 each while the retail price for that exact model in the market was Rs 20,000 at the time of purchase.
It is also alleged that the laptops were not appropriately distributed according to the prescribed rules. They were meant to be provided to the performing students, but several media reports hinted that PMLN dispersed them keeping in mind their vote bank constituencies.
It was also reported that various institutions asked for money from the students to refer them for the free laptop, killing the very purpose of laptop distribution.
Although announced PTI government has not answered the significant question here; Why they are abolishing the scheme? If corruption was the reason, why not eliminate that instead of the whole scheme? It is worth noting here that PTI has not announced any alternative for this scheme yet, but we hope they come up with some programs for the youth and students soon.
There is an argument that why not offer students with discounts and some scholarships instead of tossing laptops to them? We feel that laptops are also a necessary gadget for students, and its the responsibility of the government to provide them with the means to boost their knowledge with the help of internet but obviously the corruption and using the laptops for personal gains should never be tolerated.