Life is about to become easier for thousands of villagers in Karnataka. The government's e-governance project, Nemmadi, will make caste certificates, land records, pension payments and scores of certificates accessible in villages.
The fovernment will not spend a single rupee on this. A consortium comprising 3i Infotech, Comat and N-Logue will take care of the investment and operational costs and the government will provide data.
Rajeev Chawla, secretarty, e-governance, Karnataka government, says, "The power is in the information. And that information is created, maintained and updated by the state government. So that's the contribution of the state government."
For starters, Nemmadi will set up 800 tele-centres in 30,000 villages. This will subsequently increase to 5,500 centres. The consortium will also set up 176 back-office centres linking government centres at the taluka level.
The initial investment is about Rs30 crore in the next three months. 3i Infotech will bear 90 per cent of this. The operating cost is expected to amount to Rs30 to Rs40 crore over the next five years. 3i hopes to break even by then.
Anirudh P, COO, South Asia Region, 3i Infotech, says, "Our gain in this project is that we will have experience in running these e-governance initiatives across the country. The day is not far when all villages in the country will have these kind of centres. We do hope that our experience will take us in that direction."
This may be the government's way to reach out to the people. But it's also a good deal for the private partners. Sources say 3i Infotech, which is promoted by ICICI Bank, may use the centres to sell the bank's products. The bank may use the opportunity to leverage its position in rural areas.