Home-grown joint venture hardware manufacturer Coconics has clinched an order, through competitive bidding, to supply 50 per cent of the mid-level laptops to the Kerala government for the next six months, which is expected to save the state exchequer up to Rs 16,000 on a single piece of machine.

Coconics, a joint initiative of the public sector KELTRON, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), IT major UST Global and Acceleron Labs, secured the order in the face of stiff competition from multinational giants.

The agreement, which is part of the government’s cost-saving demand aggregation policy,   marks a path-breaking public-private partnership that will boost the electronic hardware ecosystem in the state, setting a model for the country.

The government has decided on a policy of demand aggregation to purchase its requirements through Centralised Procurement and Rate Contract System (CPRCS), marking a departure from the practice of individual departments making separate purchases. As part of the process, it standardised the specifications of IT equipment and aggregated the demand. Earlier, each department used to list out its requirement, a technical committee would then decide on specifications and float the tender.

The State Electronics and Information Technology Department had floated the e-tenders through KELTRON. In the bidding, Coconics quoted the lowest price. Coconics was joined by multinational company Lenovo in offering such competitive rate.

“The demand for electronic equipment and systems is growing tremendously across the country. Coconics has bright prospects of throwing its hat in any competitive bidding at the national level,” said M Sivasankar, Secretary, Electronics and IT, Government of Kerala.

“The state government has put in place policies and approaches to create a vibrant hardware ecosystem, and it has started yielding encouraging results,” he added.

Through the decision, the government can save up to 25 per cent of the cost on purchase of L2 (mid level systems) for its departments, autonomous institutions, PSUs, Boards, corporations, universities and local bodies. It can thus save up to Rs 16,000 on a single piece of laptop, when compared with the current market price.

Coconics, which has the support of  global giant Intel, has its unit located at Manvila in Thiruvananthapuram. The deal marks an impressive take-off by the company, whose manufacturing unit has gone full stream just six months ago.

The Coconics factory at Manvila, Thiruvananthapuram

The purchase pact with Coconics will enable the government offset the impact of frequent price hike in the open market against its growing demand for hardware systems. As per the agreement, a laptop using open source software is priced at Rs 22,896. A similar system bought from the open market last year did cost Rs 38,902. Similarly. The price of the system using licensed software is priced at Rs 33,762, which comes much less than last year’s price of Rs 49,149.

The CPRCS also enables the government to buy allied equipment and ancillaries at lower prices. While one A-3 sheet fed scanner cost Rs 1,10,721 last year, it is pegged at Rs 86,632 under the agreement.

Wedded to the vision of the Make-in-India initiative, Coconics can help Kerala emerge a manufacturing hub of components and subsystems, to meet the demand of the entire country in the hardware sector.

By Manoj

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