UN Secretary General Unveils the Aakash2 Tablet at the United Nations

    UNITED NATIONS (TIP): On the occasion of India’s Presidency of the UN Security Council, the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, New York hosted a special event to unveil and launch the world’s most cost competitive tablet Aakash2 at the United Nations on November 28. Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, was the Chief Guest at the Special Event, which was attended by a packed audience of 500 plus invitees, including 65 Ambassadors/PRs, media delegates, NGOs and select members of the Indian communityIn his remarks, Secretary General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki- moon congratulated India on its Presidency of the Security Council during an ‘extremely challenging month’ and emphasized that India was a critical player on security issues.

    Terming India as a ‘superpower on the information superhighway’, he appreciated the launch of technologies such as the Aakash2, which helped bridge the digital divide. Calling them as ‘great enablers’ with potential to transform people’s lives, he encouraged partners around the world to work with the United Nations to help young people reach for the sky and meet their dreams. In his welcome address, Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in New York, noted that the device represented the ‘actualization of an idea of development innovation’ which had the potential to fundamentally alter the development discourse.

    Emphasizing that the innovation seeks to empower and give access to quality education for all, he called for the need promote research and innovation in national institutions and create an eco-system of excellence right from the elementary level up to the institutions of high-end research and innovation. He emphasized that by partnering with key initiatives such as these, the UN development system would be able to ‘force multiply’ to achieve the MDGs of universal education and global partnership. The architect of the device and CEO of Datawind, Mr. Suneet Singh Tuli, who flew in from Canada for the launch at the UN, also made a presentation and outlined that purpose of the device was not to create an ‘Ipad killer’ but to create a device for the most needy sections of society at costs that they could easily afford.

    Terming it a product of ‘frugal innovation’, Mr Tuli outlined that the device incorporated that best of innovative hardware design with a unique business model, and reflected Government of India’s commitment to eliminating illiteracy by equipping all 220 million students in India over the next 5 years with low cost computers & internet. An extremely interactive and interesting Q & A Session followed the presentations, in which several member states termed the device as ‘revolutionary’ especially from the perspective of requirements of developing countries and the need to replicate such technological innovations within the multilateral development agenda of the UN, which places increasing emphasis on public private partnerships.

    The full video of the event is available at the weblink: http://webtv.un.org/search/ban-ki-moon-launch-theaakash2- tablet/1995233558001?term=aakash2.

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