Defence focused electronics company Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is expanding its non-defence or civilian businesses. The PSU major, which is the leading supplier of radar, communication and electronic warfare equipments to the armed forces, is foraying into areas like tablet PCs and solar energy .
Over the last four-five months BEL’s central research lab designed a basic tablet PC costing $72 that will be used by the rural development ministry to conduct a census study on people below the poverty line. A consortium consisting of BEL, Electronics Corporation of India and Industrial Training Institute will conduct the study.
The tablet is powered by Android version 2.2, and runs on a solar battery. Data can be stored and uploaded to a central server in real time. It can also be used as an e- reader. BEL has received orders for 6 lakh of these tablet PC units valued at Rs 250 crore, which it will deliver by November. BEL CMD Ashwani Kumar Datt said that the human resources ministry has also expressed interest in the tablet; the ministry’s idea is to make available low-cost PCs to boost education in lower-income areas.