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Content & Services


4.0 Determining the Content and Services Stack for the CSCs
4.1 Understanding the Needs: Rural India has several unmet needs. Be it education, health, agriculture or finance, rural India has very limited or even no access to quality services and necessary financial support to avail them. Therefore, merely driving any content and service into the CSCs will be risky in the long-term. What is needed instead is a model that can build disposable incomes while providing world-class services at affordable costs. 

Exhibit 12: Service Needs in Rural India

4.2 The Stack of G2C Services
4.2.1 Current Experience: There have been quite a few e-governance initiatives in the last decade, which have changed the way government services are delivered to citizens. These initiatives demonstrate that IT-enabled G2C services have reduced the cost of a transaction for the government and also for the citizens considerably. The Exhibit 13 illustrates the same with an examples from the Lok Mitra project in Himachal Pradesh
Exhibit 13: LokMitra – Himachal Pradesh Source: Datamation)

Exhibit 13:  LokMitra – Himachal Pradesh Source: Datamation)



Estimated Coping Cost of Service Pre e-Gov (Rs) Estimated Coping Cost of Service Post e-Gov (Rs) Time Taken Pre e-Gov Time Taken Post e-Gov
Electricity Bill 20-30 10 3 hrs 15-30 min
Telephone Bill 20 10 2 hrs 15-30 min
Land Record 200-300 10 2-3 days 1 hr
Information About Govt. Schemes Nil 10 N.A 10-20 min
Result Downloading N.A 10 N.A 5-10 min
Driving License 300 80-100 15 days 3-4 hrs
License Renewal 200 80-100 7 days 1 hr
Road Tax & Vehicle Registration 200-300 10 1-2 days 3-4 hrs
Birth & Death Certificate 80-100 10 8-10 days 1-2 hrs

Estimated Coping Cost of Service 

4.2.2 The Needs Matrix: Rural communities need access to transactional capabilities with a host of agencies across multiple sectors. Exhibit 14 depicts a sample of some of the service requirements in a rural citizen’s day-to-day life.

Exhibit 14: Translating Needs into Services: An Illustration.

4.2.3 The Canvas of Interactions: For these needs there are about 40 Government departments and agencies that a rural citizen has to interact with as reflected in Exhibit 15

Exhibit 15: The Canvas of Interactions

These 40 departments, between them, have more than 500 services to offer to the citizens. Of these, the services that are frequently demanded by the citizens are about 200. The CSCs will have to prioritize the delivery of these services. Even out of these 200, about 10-12 services are expected to contribute to the bulk of the potential revenue income for a CSC.

4.2.4 Service Delivery Points: Actual service delivery to the rural citizen currently happens at different locations. Exhibit 16 depicts the four different locations where most of the government services are delivered – Gram Panchayat, Block HQ, District HQ, State HQ.

Exhibit 16: Current Service Delivery Points



4.3 E-readiness of the States: 

4.3.1 A nationwide survey was carried out to assess the e-governance readiness of all the States/UTs in India. The research suggests that nearly all States in the country have initiated action on back-end computerization efforts under the NeGP. Some of the key services that the State governments are in the process of computerizing in line with the MMPs are:

a) Land records

b) Registration

c) Issue of certificates/ Government schemes

d) Employment exchange 

e) Ration cards

f) Electoral services

g) Pension schemes

h) Road transport

i) Public grievance

4.3.2 E-Readiness - A Snapshot: Eight States are in a position to offer at least five of the above key services through CSCs. These states are: Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Gujarat is ready to offer seven services through CSCs and Rajasthan is ready with six key services. Followed by the leading States are a few progressive States: Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Pondicherry and Punjab. Next to follow are the upcoming states, which are expected to be ready with at least four of the key G2C services in the next 12-15 months. These states are: Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Mizoram, Tripura, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh. 

The following Exhibit 17 depicts the consultant’s view on readiness to deliver G2C services across States.

Exhibit 17: e-Readiness of States



4.4 The Stack of B2C Services

4.4.1 Research Undertaken

a) Research Survey: ACNielsen ORG conducted a study covering all states of the country, to assess demand and viability of various services for the CSCs. The survey was conducted across 47000 households and 5000 villages with the following objectives:

i) To identify the criteria for selection of the CSC locations.

ii) To suggest a size of population to be covered by each CSC

iii) To identify the list of services that are required by the community within easy reach pertaining to:

§ The e-governance related service requirements 

§ Services linking to income enhancement opportunities 

§ Development related information and services 

§ Other services

iv) The costs presently incurred for procurement of these services, and the affordability and willingness to pay for these services if they are available in a CSC

b) The List of Services: The survey assessed the demand for numerous services in sectors like agriculture, education, health, etc. A list of key services that households were ‘Willing to Pay’ (WTP) for is presented in Exhibit 18.

Exhibit 18: Key Services for CSC

Exhibit 18: Key Services for CSC
Service Type Service Description
Agri-consultancy Agriculture/farming related queries and capacity building services
Sale of Agri products Sale of quality agri-inputs
Education & Training  
Tuitions Classes School tuitions especially English and Maths
IT Training Basic computer training for schools as well as youngg adults
Resume upload Resume writing and online uploading services
Vocational Training Programmes Income building vocational training programmes
Tele-medicine Primary healthcare
Commercial Services  
Forms Downloads Online downloads of forms pertaining to government schemes, education admissions, loans, etc.
Railway Tickets/bus pass Online bookings
Astrology Services Queries and charts downloads
Digital Photos Passport and postcard size photos
Web-surfing Internet browsing options
DTP Invitation cards for marriage, etc
CD Burning  
Movies All kinds of movies and entertainment




c) Estimated percentage of households willing to use/pay for a service: Exhibit 19 outlines the major B2C services that rural households are willing to pay for if provided through a CSC

Exhibit 19: Major Services

Exhibit 19: Major Services
Service % of Population Willing to Use
Digital Photos - Passport size 49
Health Services – Telemedicine, etc. 47
Photocopy 44
Digital Photos - Postcard size 41
Ticketing 33
Sale of Agri-inputs 29
Tuitions Classes 29
Movies 29
Agri-consultancy 28
IT Training 21
Resume upload 11
Vocational Training Programmes 10
Astrology Services 10
Forms Downloads/Estimates 9
Web-surfing 8
Email/Chats 6
CD Burning 6

d) Frequency of Usage: The survey has also researched the expected frequency of use and the price per transaction. The Financial Model has considered a cluster of 6 villages, having a total population of 1400 households. As a conservative estimate only the estimated APL population (65% - 910 households) has been considered as the target population for CSC services to be paid for. Exhibit 20 presents the estimated revenue from B2C services:

Exhibit 20: Estimated Revenue Potential: B2C 

Exhibit 20: Estimated Revenue Potential: B2C  
Key B2C Services that would drive footfalls
B2C Services % HHs WTP HHs (APL)
per 910 HHs
Rate per transaction in Rs. Mean No. of transactions per annum Revenue Potential per annum (Rs.)
Web surfing 8% 73 5.00 6.60 2,402
DTP 5% 46 4.00 4.67 850
Email/Chats 6% 55 5.00 4.64 1,267
Health Services 47% 428 10.00 4.58 19,589
Forms Downloads/Estimate 9% 82 5.00 4.41 1,806
Photocopy 44% 400 0.50 3.99 799
CD Burning 6% 55 15.00 3.86 3,161
Railway Tickets 33% 300 10.00 3.85 11,562
Resume upload 11% 100 5.00 3.51 1,757
Movies 29% 264 3.00 3.00 2,375
Astrology Services 10% 91 20.00 2.59 4,714
Sale of Agri-inputs 29% 264 5.00 2.16 2,850
Digital Photos 41% 373 5.00 2.04 3,806
Agri-consultancy 28% 255 10.00 2.00 5,096
Tuitions Classes 29% 264 50.00 1.00 13,195
IT Training 21% 191 450.00 0.33 28,665
Vocational Training Programs 10% 91 200.00 0.33 6,067



4.5 Business-to-Business Services: 

It is important to understand that the CSC will be an IT-enabled outlet that may or may not deliver only IT-enabled services. This perspective shift is crucial for CSC profitability without too much dependence on online/IT-enabled services only. The CSC (as an organized IT-enabled network) can offer institutional services to the public, private and social sector organizations as can be seen in Exhibit 21 below:

Exhibit 21: B2B Service Model for CSC

In the above model, the CSCs can offer B2B services to large public and private sector businesses, as well as social sector agencies in the areas of Procurement, Promotion, Feedback and Distribution. By integrating the CSC into the supply chain of these businesses (as outlined in Exhibit 22), the rural villagers could get access to world-class services and income generating opportunities in their own environment. Such a model can also drive higher revenues to the SCA/VLE through institutional fees. Moreover, the large businesses would drive best practices in training, capacity building, software, etc. into rural India, thereby improving their knowledge and skills. Such activities would also create numerous local employment opportunities in and around the villages for men, women as well as for the local youth. 

Exhibit 22: CSC as a Retail Channel




4.6 Local content challenges

Availability of local online content would be an area that would impact the CSC revenues. To surpass this problem it is essential to develop a de-centralized model of aggregating content providers across various regions and languages and excite them to invest in vernacular content that could be used in the CSC. Applications/training should also be provided to the VLE to enable local content development. Such a strategy would ensure a rapid scale up of local content building for rural India. For example, MSN India, Yahoo India, Google India, Sify, Rediff, as well as local portals like Chennai Online, Web Duniya, etc. would be willing to develop local and regional content and service applications for the CSCs. Existing local portals in regional languages should be assembled by the SCA on a local SCA portal and offered to the CSC. If local portals see value in such a service being offered through the CSC, they may push investments in betterment of content and applications.


4.7 Leveraging Government Content And Services
4.7.1 Government as a Service Provider to Rural Consumer: Apart from G2C services, the Government can be a key service provider to the CSCs for their consumer-focused services. The following departments could be important service providers:

a) Posts and Telegraph: Postal services like sale of post cards, stamps, e-Daak, etc. 

b) The P&T could also use the CSCs as Extra-Departmental-Post Offices (EDPOs) after putting an appropriate mechanism in place

c) Railways: Booking of railway tickets

d) State Transport: Booking of bus tickets and passes

e) Government Colleges and Universities: Online application forms, marksheets, results, etc.

f) Information and Broadcasting: DTH services 

g) Census Department/Election Commission: Data collection

h) In addition, the CSCs could also be used by the Government for all their promotion and awareness programmes from time to time

4.7.2 Role of NIC, C-DAC, IITs, State Agricultural Universities: Agencies like National Informatics Centre have done some tremendous work development of applications for a number of rural services. Some examples include: 

a) ePost: ePost is a service under which printed or even handwritten messages of customers are scanned and transmitted as email. 

b) eNRICH - Community Software Solution Framework: eNRICH has been developed as a web-based community software solution framework not only enable communities to identify, build and organize relevant information but also promote communication between and among rural communities. 

c) e-RESULTS: NIC has developed a unique solution to conveniently publish and access results of any examination, be it academic, professional, recruitment, over the Internet in a fast and effective manner. 

d) Agmarknet: Agmarknet is a real time agri-information portal developed by NIC with an aim to increase efficiency in agricultural marketing by effecting improvement in the existing market information system. 

e) Media Lab Asia Initiative in Association with IITs: Media Lab Asia is working with various technology institutes and NGOs across India in developing high-end technology enabled solutions and applications for rural India. Some of the current projects are listed below:

i) aAQUA: An agro information system – being tested in Maharashtra

ii) Ca:sh: Handheld device based health data collection and management – being tested in Haryana

iii) CHIC: Craft revival: A CAD tool for helping the Chikan embroidery artisans – being deployed in Lucknow, UP

iv) Digital Mandi: An electronic trading platform for agro commodities – being tested in UP

v) e-Sagu: an IT based Tool for agricultural extension – being deployed in Andhra Pradesh

vi) GramPatra: Store and forward messaging system – being tested in Karnataka for land records delivery over the BHOOMI project

vii) Sanyog: A communication system for the speech impaired and for people affected with cerebral palsy – being tested in West Bengal and Delhi

viii) Shruti: An embedded Indian language text to speech system – being tested in West Bengal

f) ICAR/MANAGE/State Agri-universities: Government organizations like ICAR and MANAGE have a wealth of content in digital formats that could be readily enabled into the CSC. The CSCs can also act as a perfect channel for these agencies to disseminate their content. The State Agri-universities, on the other hand, have a wealth of local data and content, as well as the backward linkages that could tremendously help the rural population with world-class knowledge and training. 

g) India Development Gateway (InDG): InDG is a national initiative to aggregate a host of content and services for e-government, e-business, e-collaboration and knowledge sharing among development stakeholders. The India Development Gateway can be the centralized portal for the CSC Scheme. All Government content and applications could be routed through the portal to the CSCs. The portal can host all local SCA portals and can also have customized emails for SCAs as well as VLEs. All Government communication to citizens like disaster alerts, etc. could be sent through this portal. KVIC and local cottage industries could use this portal for online shopping and sourcing. Such a portal can also be an attractive option for advertisers to promote their products and services.




4.8 The Content and Services Ecosystem

Exhibit 23: Content and Services Ecosystem

4.8.1 Beyond ICT: Development of Content and Services for CSCs cannot be restricted to ICT alone. The CSCs need to be viewed as a last-mile distribution point for delivery of end-to-end rural solutions. To that effect, robust back-end networks of committed regional players in public, private and social sector need to join hands together.

4.8.2 Need for an Integrated Approach: There is a lot of activity happening on the development of appropriate applications to enable the varied G2C services. Most of these initiatives, have however, been a result of various state departments taking isolated initiatives, at least the NeGP started coalescing some of the key sectors. What these isolated initiatives result in, however, is the absence of standardized platforms, disjointed databases, redundant data, and more complex processes for citizen delivery.

4.8.3 A Continuous Process: Development of content and services would be a continuous process. A critical mass of 100,000 CSCs would encourage local players and entrepreneurs to come up with regional innovations that would drive the learning and development efforts of larger organizations as well as the Government. As happened elsewhere in the world, it would create a positive environment for the regional development of the IT industry across the country



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