Striking The Youth Surge To A Side


Punjab Government’s recent Laptop Scheme for youths excelling in the educational quarter invited much criticism and disapproval, particularly from PML-N’s opponents.

All controversy, contention, partisanship and public announcements regarding the scheme apart – let us accept, or assume [ Suit your views ] that this is a purely political strategy. Either as a component of pre-election campaigning or to rightfully attempt to secure and include a substantial slice of the the nation, in their voter base.

It has come to be seen that many of those who received the laptops themselves, consider the whole project as an effort to raise a favourable image and opinion of PML-N in this distinct section, in face of the popularity that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf enjoys amongst them.

Equally manifest and relevant, is how many of these very recipients who have been given the laptops and hold the aforementioned view, mention rather sarcastically, the enjoyment they are deriving of ‘PML-N’s’ free modern technological device, while reinforcing their political leanings towards PTI.

And as bad as an example as the following will sound to be, similarities do lie between the Punjab Government’s Laptop Scheme and the Aata Scheme that was executed by PML-Q a few months before the 2008 elections.

PML-Q’s Government in Punjab drove a campaign that involved sending workers to houses in Punjab, with free bags of flour, rice and crisp notes that ranged from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000 – as ‘gifts’ from the government. Almost everyone accepted them, and those who refused to, were often forced to take it all, afterall, they were ‘gifts’ from the government.

It was a cheap tactic by a party that was solely made from turncoats and opportunists, to validate the illegitimate rule of Musharraf and act as a pillar of support for it.

But what does strike a tiny semblance between that and this Laptop Scheme, is not much but this certain pattern of response. Most of who accepted Q’s ‘gifts’ back then also reckoned to vote for PML-N at the end, just as many [ Bear in mind, the use of 'most' and 'many' does not imply all ] today are receiving the laptops yet still corroborating and adhering to their following of PTI; while not lending second consideration to other probable reasons behind the commencement of the scheme.

The youth comprise around 60 to 70 percent of Pakistan today and thanks to the revolution in Arab countries, the state of Pakistan as a bubbling cauldron and numerous youth-oriented organizations sprining up since the Musharraf era, are becoming increasingly politically aware and interested, and their standing as this great bulge has affixed them with tremendous materiality and weight.

It wouldn’t be inaccurate to state that this is creating a necessity for political parties in Pakistan, to practise voter segmentation; the classification and division of voters on the basis of similar characteristics shared by them.

Taking cue from basic economics and its idea of market segmentation, the sorting of voters into different groups, gives birth to the possibility of political parties recognizing and responding better to the interests, concerns, objections and expectations of these groups – in short, their pulse. Voter segmentation is intertwined with political parties catering to various people within and part of the separate stratums of the society in a nation – making it all the more vital for emerging democratic countries, like Pakistan.

As far as this and the youth are related, tilting this segment of the voters to their advantage, will be a shrewed move by any party. Considering their state presently and the fact, that the tapping of their propitious, political alignment by any party today towards itself at this time, may turn out to continue as a strong association, years later when the youths mature into adults.

Conclusively, it can be said that rather than such schemes that border on being hugely rendered ineffective, long-term policies such as Punjab Government’s vibrant upcoming ‘Youth Policy’  ‘that aims to engage young people between the ages of 15 to 29, in healthy activities and provide them with social, political and economic empowerment, as well as encouragement of the youth’s involvement in mainstream politics and governance’ will serve both, the youth well, inevitably, PML-N’s own political status and future.

~ Hafsa Khawaja

Published in: on April 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm  Comments (5)  

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  1. Scheme is nothing but to try and counter the popularity enjoyed by PTI. It is destined to fail, The leadership of both PML(N) and PPP thinks they can buy people and that everyone has a price tag but these parties cannot believe the kind of hatred amongst the youth, people want change and it is there around the corner. No party except PTI can satisfy the aspirations of people.

  2. Clarifications regarding 110K Laptop Project:
    The recent initiative of the Punjab government of distributing laptops
    amongst thousands of brilliant students of public colleges and
    universities across the province has met with great success. This
    initiative helps bridge the digital divide between the haves and haves
    nots, in terms of providing access to tools of modern education.
    Operating System
    In so far as the operating system is concerned, the laptops being
    distributed come equipped with the Linux based operating system.
    Ubuntu 10.10 is distributed as free and open source software. The
    decision of the government to avail the open source option is
    important for several important reasons. Firstly, it reduces
    dependence on proprietary software vendors and secondly it drastically
    cuts down on the overall cost of the machines. Since they are not
    bundled with expensive licensed software such as Microsoft Office they
    are cost-effective and provide value for money, an important factor
    for the government to consider which has an inherent responsibility
    and fiduciary duty to the taxpayers. Open source is also a catalyst
    for development as it allows users to adapt the software to their own
    needs. This can improve IT and programming skills that in turn promote
    innovation. The Ubuntu OS comes installed with Libre Office and the
    internet browser Firefox. Additional software that is not installed by
    default can be downloaded and installed using the Ubuntu Software
    Center without paying any additional charges – an added bonus, since
    this would be illegal with proprietary software. Also, Ubuntu does not
    need an antivirus as its kernel is designed in such a way that no spam
    or virus can affect it. UBUNTU is getting popular globally due to its
    open source and freeware feature. It is not only being used by
    students but the LINUX enterprise OS offerings are being used by world
    renowned education institutes for their enterprise deployments and
    universities in Pakistan are also using it. The primary purpose to
    bundle the UBUNTU OS in the machines was to save cost and promote
    students to take advantage of this free OS which has some great
    features, is easy to use and comes with a UBUNTU Liber Office (just
    like MS office) and also has the world renowned Fire Fox Internet
    Browser (similar to MS Internet explorer). The Punjab Government has
    also saved cost on bundling MS Office which is even more expensive
    that Windows OS. Ubuntu also has another advantage; it does not need
    an Antivirus as its Kernel is designed is such a way that no Spam or
    Virus can affect it which in turn saves cost. The selection of
    bundling the UBUNTU was done in order to take advantage of all the
    features free of cost to the government. In this regard, it is
    further advised to instruct all educational institutions to discourage
    any ads that are placed on their notice boards with regard to
    installation of the Windows OS as the people who are offering the
    students to install a Windows OS for Rupees 500/- are also using
    pirated versions and thus misguiding the students. Furthermore, a DVD
    has been provided with every laptop which contains drivers for not
    only UBUNTU but Windows OS as well. The DVD also contains details of 9
    service and support centers that have been established in order to
    cater for student’s support and service issues at all the 9 divisional
    headquarters. A toll free number and web address has also been
    provided to facilitate the students to log their complaints online.
    Specifications
    In so far as the specifications are concerned, the laptop procured by
    Punjab Government—DELL Inspiron 4050— has the latest Intel Pentium
    Dual Core B950 chipset which is latest among the Intel Dual Core
    family of processors and comes with the latest Intel Sandy Bridge HM67
    Chipset. The laptop has some great features including a 2GB RAM, 320GB
    HDD, DVD Writer, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3 in 1 media Card Reader, HDMI ports
    and a high resolution (1366 x 768) display and is an ideal platform to
    run all applications and address the requirements of a student. In a
    nutshell it is value bundled with economy. The processor selection was
    done after a thorough evaluation and due diligence. The selection was
    done keeping in mind the performance and value of the processor and
    industry benchmarks were given due consideration for this purpose. The
    Intel dual core B950 Processor cannot be compared with a Intel Core I
    Processor series as both belong to different families of processors.
    Besides, there is a huge difference in price as well. The Core I
    series is much higher in price compared to Dual Core series. On the
    average, the Core i3 computer costs Rs 10 to 15 thousand more than the
    one procured by the Punjab Government. The laptops’ project aimed at
    delivering optimal performance that best fits type of PC usage. The
    Intel Pentium Dual Core (PDC) B950, based on the latest 2nd generation
    core architecture is positioned in the value segment roadmap. For
    usage models where customer needs are basic, Intel offers Celeron
    processors and the Intel Atom processors as the entry level processor
    best suited for content consumption. Furthermore, these are positioned
    below the Intel Pentium Dual Core B950. Therefore, the selection of
    microprocessor is based on optimal performance that best suits the
    user in a particular price/performance segment. Intel Pentium Dual
    Core B950 is part of the series which also comprises of Intel Core
    i3/i5/i7 processors; however, these are at higher price-points. The
    availability of the Intel Pentium Dual Core B950 in the 2nd Generation
    Core architecture based roadmap ensures that without compromising on
    performance, users in the value segment get most out of technology. It
    also speaks about the good battery life and the “good value” delivered
    by Intel Pentium Dual Core B950 based products.

    LC Arrangements
    Payment Method: ·
    The RFP stated that all payments will be made through a sight LC which
    meant that payment will be made immediately on delivery·
    Inbox has however extended a 30 day credit to Government of Punjab and
    payments are being made 30 days after acceptance of delivery·
    There is no question of an advance payment as all are made after
    taking possession and delivery.·
    The LC which is opened is not a back to back LC. The terms and
    conditions of the LC opened by Bank of Punjab are considerably
    different from the LC opened by Inbox in favor of dell. Hence it is
    not a back to back LC structure·
    Inbox has given 30% more than the value of the LC’s as security in
    shape shares of Dawood group companies and cash margins.
    Rates
    As well as market rate of the laptop computer is concerned, in public
    procurement there is a transparent procedure of open bidding.
    Comparative Statement of all participant firms has been prepared and
    lowest cost quoted by any participant firm is required to be approved.
    Directorate of IT Labs Project, School Education Department has
    completed all codal formalities of procurement and through open
    competition lowest bidding firm was selected for purchase of laptop
    computers.
    Purchasing Method: ·
    Dell in Pakistan sells through authorized distributors·
    Inbox is an authorized distributor ·
    The after sale services and warranty are provided by the local
    distributor hence the contract had to be done locally·
    This is a standard operating procedure of all MNC’s operating in
    Pakistan through local distributors.
    Warranty Period
    A 15 months parts warranty, against the industry norm of 12 months,
    inclusive of battery is provided for all laptops.
    Intimation to NAB
    Section 33B of National Accountability Bureau, makes it mandatory to
    furnish to NAB, a copy of any contract, of the minimum monetary value
    of fifty million rupees or more, within such time as is reasonably
    preacticable from the date of signing such contract. The needful has
    been done and a copy of relevant documents has been sent accordingly

  3. Well summed up.
    I believe one of the basic reasons they pulled this gig was because of the ‘tasal’ with PTI.
    This will definitely help N-League in long term, but I do not thing this is such a good idea. The criteria is quite dodgy itself.

    Anyway, well written again, Hafsa :)

    -Peace

  4. To be honest about this scheme, I’d say that rather than their so-called helping campaign why don’t they just help all of the nation by providing the basic necessities of life? like … Electricity?

    Their schemes are such a fail, every one of us can see through what is going behind these schemes. Still they keep going on like nothing’s happening.

    Well written article, Keep Writing.

  5. I could have not expressed my thoughts about the Laptops project better than this :) Kudos for such an accurate analysis…


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