Making E-Governance Centers Financially Sustainable in Rural India: A Conceptual Design for Action Research
9 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2012 Last revised: 11 Sep 2012
Date Written: December 21, 2010
Large-scale failure of telecenters in rural areas has subdued initial high expectations with regard to ICT bringing about developmental changes and given rise to skepticism about the long-term financial sustainability of such telecenters. The experience in many Indian states, including Karnataka, indicates that taking telecenters closer to people in rural areas is fraught with difficulty in terms of making them financially sustainable. Our analysis of the problem identifies the limited range of services provided by these telecenters as the primary cause for their failure. As a remedy, we suggest a three-pronged approach: first, use of these centers for public service delivery as well as public data collection by the government; second, providing a cluster of complete and integrated services to cater to a wider customer base, thus substantially improving value for the rural customers; and third, providing information and other services to businesses with significantly large operations in rural areas. This approach has the dual advantage of making telecenters viable and therefore meeting the requirements of the rural poor as well as helping the government deliver its services more efficiently and effectively in rural areas.
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