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iPad gift, training too for ministers

Patna, Oct. 10: A year after they were given laptops, ministers in the state got iPads today for real-time monitoring of departmental functioning.

Although the government spent several lakhs to procure the 32GB gadget, their proper use would be known only after training of the ministers is over. Some of the ministers flatly told The Telegraph today that iPad might be a dream device for many but they could hardly make out what to do with it as laptops remained fairly unused. Of course, tech-savvy deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, rural development minister Nitish Mishra and a handful of their colleagues are exceptions.

“I use laptop to watch news and I keep it in my office,” said revenue and land reforms minister Ramai Ram after getting iPad without explaining exactly how he used the earlier tool. That he has no knowledge about iPad became evident when he said: “Kaya, Kaya, Kaya, ee iPad kaya hota hai (What this iPad is all about)? I am hearing the name for the first time” — minutes before he was to be given an iPad.

The state information and technology department has taken the initiative to provide these advanced gadgets to the ministers apparently to enhance their work efficiency. The iPads were handed over to them at computer orientation skill-cum-training at Patliputra Ashok today.

Besides Modi and Mishra, other ministers who were present at the function were energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav, transport minister Brishin Patel, disaster management minister Renu Kumari, information technology minister Shahid Ali Khan, food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak, mines and geology minister Satyadev Narayan Arya, art, culture and youth affairs minister Sukhda Pandey and urban development and housing minister Prem Kumar.

About a possible use of iPad, Renu Kumari said: “Right now, I do not know the use of iPad but I will learn it soon. I do not use laptop or computer on daily basis as we are already under pressure with our departmental work.

At the orientation programme today, besides getting iPads, which cost around Rs 40,000 each, the ministers were seen learning different computer applications like MS Office, difference between software and hardware, chatting, use of social networking sites. For most of the ministers, the two-and-half-an-hour training was completely a new experience.

Even IT minister Shahid Ali Khan is not much familiar with laptop and iPad. “We have decided to send a trainer at their respective houses for five days to make them friendly with the gadget,” he said.

On the other hand, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, slammed the government move: “I do not understand the logic behind wasting so much of money on iPad. These ministers do not know the use of laptop. How can they use iPad?”


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