MP Govt Steps Up e-Governance Efforts

by Sonal Desai    Dec 12, 2006

Madhya Pradesh governments’ e-governance initiatives are rising. After Haryaali Kisan Bazaar and e-chaupal, initiatives catering to the needs of farmers, the government is tying up with Teledata Informatics to provide rural wireless broadband connectivity. Motorola is also one of the partners in the project.

The project is aimed at enabling farmers to sell their yield and keep a track of business opportunities without middlemen interference.

Anurag Srivastava, IT secretary, MP informs, “It is a business to citizen initiative. Teledata will tie-up with other companies to provide pesticides, fertilizers and quality seeds to the farmers. The facility will be developed on the lines of e-commerce, albeit will be customized as per requirements of the agro sector here. Teledata has already tied up with HLL and is negotiating with other fertilizer companies.”

“At present, a farmer who visits warehouses does not have enough options to chose for quality seeds or is not aware of a lot of fertilizers or pesticides. This initiative however, will be different from ITC’s scheme as e-chaupal deals mainly with the sales part. ITC is planning to enter the procurement scenario soon,” he reveals.

Rural people do not have enough commercial choice, the project aims to bridge the gap and bring the farmers into mainstream. It also aims to do away with the middlemen by encouraging direct sales. To facilitate this, the company will set up kiosks.

It will take care of the conventional strategies like use of improved hybrid seeds and fertilizers, educating farmers and increasing their access to markets. Farmers can evaluate the prices of their crops by comparing it with the local, national and global prices using the Internet.

About government’s role in the project, Srivastava says that the state will provide Teledata free rights. Though the company and the MP government have not signed any formal agreement on how the sites will be used, Teledata has agreed to provide rural kiosk based services primarily good quality communication on the markets and the need for the yield.

According to the MoU, the villages would be connected to the district head quarters and Bhopal through wireless broadband connectivity. The expected revenue from the contract is Rs.60 crore per annum. The contract is for a period of five years.

Sharinn Murthuza, vice president, marketing at Teledata states that the company will establish a specific project venture (SPV) in MP and an operating hub at Bhopal. It will provide connectivity at selected points in Bhopal and approximately 200 points in rural areas. This phase will also include development of complete ecosystem of IT applications, services and logistics. The first phase will be rolled out in six months. Morotola provide WiMax technology and broadband connectivity for the project. Teledata will implement, operate and maintain the kioks. Teledata will operate the programme on a fee basis and project the earnings from the project at Rs.60 crore.

He adds, the company proposes to set up a continuum of telecom infrastructure IT applications and distribution systems to provide effective solutions to improve general life in rural areas. The project will be completed in two phases.

Murthuza informs that Teledata will provide content application management services for the farmers. The company will tie-up with different Courier & logistics Companies. The infrastructure has to be built, as various vendors including Motorola will provide the first phase and equipment, he concludes.