Background Material

October 2020

Can an IAS Officer Do Business? Stories of 5 IAS Officers Turned Entrepreneurs

For everyone, it’s never enough to have more money. Even for civil servants and government officials, their careers are their way of paying for a secure lifestyle and survival. Many candidates have this question in their mind that if they would be IAS officers are allowed to have a side business or engage in a secondary profession along with their bureaucratic duties.
In this article, you will get to know governmental rules and regulations in place for IAS officers and learn about some IAS officers who left their post to become entrepreneurs and businessmen.

Are IAS Officers Allowed to do Business?

IAS officers are strictly prohibited under governmental regulations from directly partaking in business for personal interest while serving as a bureaucrat. However, retired IAS officers are allowed to run their own businesses. Conduct rules prohibit IAS officers to engage in any other full-time occupation. Even for part-time vocation, there should not be any conflict of interest. Also, vocation should be non-remunerative. Besides all this, the inhuman work hours that IAS officers generally have to serve for makes it impossible for them to be able to work for any other enterprise.

Also Read: Must Have Qualities For IAS Officers
Conditions Under Which IAS Officers Can Do Their Own Business
Retired IAS officers can directly take part in any kind of lucrative business.
Serving IAS officers can resign from their post to run their own business.
Serving IAS officers can use their private legal money to make legal investments and buy stocks.
IAS officers can have their family and friends start a business in their stead while they act as advisers and share their ideas. However, the government has to be made aware of such a venture.
IAS officers can take part in some activities and vocations as long as its non-remunerative and for philanthropic purposes only.

Examples of Some IAS Officers that Left Their Post to Become Entrepreneurs

However, there are always examples of some people who find their actual calling a little later in life. The following are the stories of 5 such IAS officers who decided to resign from their post to change their profession to becoming full-time businessmen.

Also Read: Salary of An IAS Officer Plus Incentives

Dr. Syed Sabahat Azim
Dr Syed Sabahat Azim was an IAS officer in 2000 who quit his job to start his own chain of healthcare called Glocal Healthcare Systems. The sudden death of his father due to untimely and inadequate medical assistance drove him to start this initiative. He started his company in 2010 with the support of Mr Damodaran, the former Chairman of SEBI.

Pravesh Sharma
After 34 years of service, Pravesh Sharma voluntarily quit his job to start an online grocery delivery service called Sabziwala. This company delivers good quality vegetables to your doorstep at a fair price.

Roman Saini
Roman Saini was the youngest IAS officer to clear the exam at the young age of 16. Roman, however, resigned from the administration services and began his entrepreneurial venture – Unacademy, a website that provides free online coaching, webinars, tutorials, and motivational speeches for IAS aspirants.

Vivek Kulkarni
The 1979-batch IAS officer, who quit the services after 22 years, following his stint as IT and Biotechnology secretary to the Government of Karnataka has made one of the most successful IAS Officer turned entrepreneur. In 2005, he co-founded Brickwork India, a knowledge process outsourcing firm that provides virtual assistants to global companies.

Sanjay Gupta
Sanjay Gupta is a 1985 batch IAS Officer who cleared the UPSC Civil Service Exam at the young age of 22. After taking voluntary retirement in 2002, Sanjay joined the Adani Group as CEO (Infrastructure).

After spending a few years with the group, he launched his chain of luxury hotels, Cambay under the umbrella of Neesa Group. Some of his group companies are Neesa Leisure, Neesa Infrastructure, Neesa Agritech and Food, Orient Spa, Neesa Technologies, Neesa Financial Services, Neesa Township, and Properties and Cambay SEZ Hotels.

Also Read: How To Think Like An IAS Officer

Conclusion The purpose of this rule which prohibits IAS officers from engaging in personal business is to avoid the possibility of a conflict of interests as IAS officers are mainly concerned with policymaking and implementation, which he might. In business, he could use his advantage in harming the greater goal of the development of business and economy and a level playing field. Thus why it is better for IAS officers to focus their energy on their work.
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June 2018

Ia staff and committee members

India Alliance was officially launched on 9 September 2008 and registered as a charitable trust in India. Wellcome Trust, UK and Department of Biotechnology, Government of India equally funded this initiative with the vision of promoting biomedical research in India through funding and engagement.
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May 2017

Unlikely Journeys of IAS Officers Turned CEOs

When three former IAS officers—separated by state cadres and decades—tell you that they sharpened their mantras of honesty, integrity, teamwork and speedy decision-making while in public service, raised eyebrows as a result of an Indian’s ingrained cynicism might well be forgiven. Add to this their shared conviction that the private sector is where it’s at; little trumps sarkaari training; shortcuts don’t work; and frugality without skimming on quality is the best bet and you’ll get a winning idea of their own lack of pessimism. Spread over three decades, their individual entrepreneurial journeys mirror India’s big booms in the corresponding era—IT, BPOs, telecom, education, health care.
Vivek Kulkarni. Sanjay Purohit. Dr. Syed Sabahat Azim. A tech-savvy finance buff who studied engineering, an engineer-turned-reconstruction specialist and a specialist doctor who, quite simply, got bored with medicine—these three delightfully non-babu-like ex-bureaucrats are honest enough in their mild criticism of a system they were a part of but equally staunch in their defence of its exceptionality. Quick to attribute their entrepreneurial breakthroughs to experiences as spokes in the wheel of the Great Indian State, all three left the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) prematurely, albeit non-grudgingly, brimming with optimism to do something different.
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May 2017

Health & Right to Information – newer paradigms

The interplay of right to Information & health has generally been seen as a legal issue This presentation wants to focus on a perennial problem of who owns the medical data especially in light of emerging digital world This is just one perspective and represents personal views of the author and do not represent the views of the organization
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March 2016

Entrepreneurship programme startup policy to boost state's own entrepreneurs

Presidency University presents a three day Workshop on Entrepreneurship Development organized by Department of Economics and Presidency University Young Entrepreneur Society (PUYES). The workshop will start with an orientation programme Being – becoming: 10 Steps to Entrepreneurship on 6th January 2016. On 7th the Keynote Address will be given by Mr. Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, CEO, Bandhan Bank. That will be followed by Technical Sessions and a round table, Meet the Entrepreneurs. Director, KPMG, will launch an e-market site for the students of Presidency University. As an extension of this programme a Panel Discussion on Entrepreneurship - the preferred professional choice will take place in Bengal Global Business Summit 2016 on 9th January 2016.

Rajiva Sinha (IAS), Principal Secretary, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Govt. of West Bengal; Mr S Kishore, Principal Secretary, Govt of West Bengal, Dr. Sabahat Azim, Founder, CEO & MD Glocal Healthcare System; Ashok Banerjee, Professor, Finance and Control, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta; V K Unni, Professor, Public Policy and Management, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta; C. D. Mitra , CEO, PipalMajik & Anvetion Consulting & Advisor, Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, IIM Calcutta; Shubhranshu Sanyal, CEO, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta Incubation Centre; Bikram Dasgupta, Founder & Executive Chairman, Globsyn Group; Amitava Bhattacharya, Founder,; Rudra Chatterjee, Chairman, Obeetee; Anant Sarma, CEO, SIDBI Venture Capital, Angshuman Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-founder, SIBIA Analytics & Consulting Services; Soma Banerjee, CEO & CO-founder, Business Brio and Pulak Ghosh, Infosys Chair Professor in Economics, Presidency University will participate in this event.

Professor Anuradha Lohia, Vice-Chancellor, Presidency University, will inaugurate the event and moderate the panel discussion.

The workshop has been partially funded by 'Sadhukha Visiting Professor of Industrial Economics Endowment'

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February 2015

IIM-Calcutta forays into healthcare management

The program is jointly organized by IIMC and Glocal Hospitals. The program was inaugurated in the gracious presence of Prof. Saibal Chattopadhyay, director, IIMC; Prof Anindya Sen, dean (academic), IIMC; Prof Partha Ray, chairman, CMDP, IIMC ; Dr Sabahat Azim, CEO, Glocal Healthcare Systems; Mr Sunil Sachdeva, co-founder, Medanta - The Medicity, and other distinguished guests.

The Healthcare Executive Management Programme combines world-class healthcare management education with rigorous field-based learning across Singapore and India.

Prof. Saibal Chattopadhyay commented, "This course is certainly a milestone in the glorious history of IIMC. It marks a new chapter that makes the institution stand out, internationally. Given the country's current demographics, there's is a dearth of healthcare professionals. With more than 30 students enrolling for the course, we are hoping for a long successful journey ahead for the program."

The first batch of 31 students consists of doctors, other medical practitioners, technical and marketing professionals with prior work experience in the healthcare industry.

All the students, with their previous experience in the related fields, are looking at accelerating their career and achieving a bigger entrepreneurial goal in life through this course.

Dr Sabahat Azim, who has taken a significant role in designing the program said, "There's dearth of leadership in healthcare, thus this course spans the entire spectrum of healthcare facility with the biggest market players interacting with the students. The opportunities are just the beginning."

Throughout this one year period, students will have the opportunity to interact with the finest minds of the healthcare industry.

The course is designed in such a way so that all aspects are covered to create the leaders of tomorrow to fuel the healthcare industry which is currently pegged at US $5 trillion, globally.

The course will span across 6 months of campus-based learning that will include classroom teaching methods, case-based learning; and 6 months of international industry exposure.

The field-based learning will happen in Singapore, and will help the students to acquire the requisite knowledge of working in global healthcare industry.

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July 2014

The unlikely Journey of IAS officers turned entrepreneurs

Sarkaari naukri doesn’t seem like an incubator for gutsy entrepreneurship. The three company builders we profile debunk that theory though. The former bureaucrats-turned-successful entrepreneurs show how invaluable their government stint has been in moulding their business models, crafting their products, pricing their services and understanding the market. Read ahead to find out how they cracked their winning formula en route a publicprivate journey like no other.
When Sabahat Azim decided to take a five-year sabbatical from his hard-won spot in the IAS, his first stop was an interview with a solar power major. His enthusiastic quest ended abruptly at a staircase sign in the company’s offices that said “Please take one step at a time”. Instead, he founded SREI Sahaj e-Village in 2006—a successful pan-India PPP venture aimed at traversing the digital barrier. Partnering with the government to bring e-governance to India’s villages, the company he led helped create rural entrepreneurs who provided a multitude of services via 18,000 Common Service Centres (CSCs)—set up at an average of 16 centres a day in his three years as CEO. When it was time to move on in 2009, Azim confesses—citing the Judgement of Solomon—he wanted to do something that would not pitch him against his own creation, despite the strong temptation to duplicate its success. A personal tragedy resulting from the over-priced but faulty mismanagement of a family member’s health ultimately nudged him closer to the health care industry. If this could happen to a doctor and an IAS officer who could afford to pay, he thought, then what of the rest? With seed-stage investment from Elevar Equity and Sequoia Capital, and a host of team members who left his first venture with him, Azim quit the services in 2009—a year before his sabbatical ended—and founded Glocal Healthcare Services in 2010. It offers affordable and quality health care through an integrated model of block-level comprehensive care hospitals, health insurance, skill development and technology. Having raised `58-crore in investments, latest annual revenues of `11.3-crore, and with over 500 people working for Glocal, turning his back on that restraining staircase has sure served him well. A doctor from Aligarh Muslim University and an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus—Azim says he is a rural India guy who is easily bored to death, and is constantly looking for the next challenge. Serving as perhaps the youngest secretary to the CM in just half a decade of service, with direct access to the top offices, had made it difficult for him to go back to a regular posting, he admits. Also, he had realised, “if you are an honest officer, there’s not much left to you at the end of the day”. Glocal is poised to add 50 new hospitals in six states providing secondarylevel, quality rural health care at low prices. Other projects on the move include a diagnostic tool for doctors; soon-to-be-launched patient monitors; and a freshly-minted one-year management programme with IIM Calcutta to train hospital administrators who have the unenviable task of managing doctors.
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July 2013

Lessons from India for Africa’s healthcare entrepreneurs

Access to high-quality, low-cost healthcare services is a big challenge in many African countries. There are few public hospitals in most areas and those available are often under-staffed, under-funded and lack basic facilities. Low-income earners and people residing in rural areas face even greater difficulties accessing the most basic care.

Entrepreneurs are increasingly investing in the healthcare sector to bridge the gap, but they face a myriad of hurdles in delivering quality services as well as value to shareholders, and have to challenge accepted approaches.

As Africa’s population increases and incomes rise, the demand for wider access to high-quality and affordable healthcare is expected to climb. A report by professional services firm KPMG, titled ‘Delivering high-quality, low-cost care at scale’, highlights case studies of successful hospital chains in India that African businesses can learn from.
Here are the success stories of three hospitals started by entrepreneurs in India and the strategies they have deployed to scale their operations and be commercially successful.

Targeting under-served areas

The Vaatsalya chain of hospitals, founded in 2005 by two doctors Ashwin Naik and Veerendra Hiremath, targets clients in semi-urban and rural areas who have limited or no access to healthcare facilities.

Key components of the business model include bringing doctors back to rural areas and reducing the brain drain, making no major real estate investments and eliminating frills such as decor, ward kitchens and cafeterias.

Every year its 50-70 bed capacity hospitals each serve more than half a million patients, offering core services that include mother and child care, general surgery, diagnostics and emergency care.

The chain expands its hospital network based on people’s needs in a particular region, the gap in health service provision, and the availability of doctors either locally or those who are willing to move to that geography.

“This combination of targeting an under-served but large market focusing on common conditions, gives Vaatsalya a clear market niche and sufficient scale and focus to achieve cost savings – most of these are benefits from standardisation, flow and specialisation rather than economies of scale,” says KPMG.

Innovative cost-cutting measures

CARE Hospitals was founded by a group of physicians with a 100-bed single facility focusing on cardiac care. Today CARE is a multi-specialty hospital chain comprising of 1,600 beds across 12 hospitals targeting middle and lower-income customers. KPMG attributes the hospital’s success to an entrepreneurial approach based on a pricing strategy that enables the hospital to address the healthcare needs of every strata of society, thereby maximising accessibility while focusing on quality and affordability.

The hospital’s management has also adopted innovative ways to contain costs and optimise utilisation of resources. Through a task shifting process called “de-skilling”, CARE deploys many functions of higher-level personnel to less-trained individuals deemed to be appropriate for the job, thereby allowing highly-skilled staff to spend more energy on complex tasks.

To further cut costs, CARE uses leased space instead of acquiring property.

“The hospitals follow an evidence-based medical practice with emphasis on accurate diagnoses to minimise costs. It has developed its clinical processes to mitigate unnecessary expensive invasive procedures,” notes the report.

Use of technology

Glocal Healthcare was founded in June 2010 by entrepreneur Sabahat Azim with the aim of providing quality and low-cost healthcare to the needy. Today it runs five hospitals in rural West Bengal, each having 75-100 beds. Owing to the strength of its business model and stellar financial record, Glocal has periodically received private equity interest.

The hospitals use a standardised medical diagnosis and management system (MDMS), an artificial intelligence system that helps in diagnosis and choosing medication, thereby eliminating prescription of unnecessary medicines, pathological tests and procedures. Although doctors can exercise their judgement, the system ensures that the entire process of diagnosis and management is fully transparent and documented.

The hospitals have also invested in telemedicine, teleconsultation and video conferencing facilities and are fully computerised and 100% paperless.

May 2013

Five healthcare start-ups to keep an eye on

NAVIGENE GENETIC SCIENCE Mumbai (founded in 2012) This company screens newborn babies to detect at least 100 genetic disorders. It collects their urine samples from hospitals across six major cities and tests them at its lab in Thane (near Mumbai), offering results in 48 to 72 hours. The potential for the business seems huge with 51 babies being born per minute in India. *******************************************************************************************************************

MITRA BIOTECH Bangalore (founded in 2009-end) The Bangalore-based company’s technology platform, Oncoprint, offers personalized treatment for cancer. Oncoprint analyses the effect of multiple drugs on cancer cells and comes up with the best fit for a patient in less than seven days. *******************************************************************************************************************

DAWA.IN Mumbai (founded in 2013) The early-stage health start-up aims to be a monthly prescription reminder and refill pharmacy for patients suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. At the same time, it wants to be an online pharmacy providing a cheaper option for medicines. While deliveries are limited to Mumbai, the information can be read and used by anyone across the country for free. *******************************************************************************************************************

GLOCAL HEALTHCARE Kolkata (founded in 2010) The chain of affordable hospitals started by Sabahat S. Azim, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer-turned entrepreneur, focuses only on rural and semi-rural areas. The first Glocal hospital, established in a town near Kolkata, broke even in six months. Glocal relies on a protocol-driven model, with a computerized system helping doctors automate diagnosis of 42 diseases, ranging from heart disease to malaria. *******************************************************************************************************************

HEALTHIFYME Bangalore (founded in 2012) HealthifyMe is a nutrition and fitness tracker, which connects people with dietitians and trainers. HealthifyMe has various tools, including an online wellness platform and mobile apps.
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February 2013

Here is a Doctor cum Former IAS Officer With an Unique Goal !!!!

Dr. Sabahat S Azim, a former IAS officer and a doctor in West Bengal has undertaken an initiative to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, looking to help more than 70 per cent of India’s population living in the villages.
Dr. Azim has come up with an innovative design which will cut cost for the hospital in terms of infrastructure and unnecessary procedures which will enable the hospital to offer its services at lower costs.
It all started from the remote corner of Sonamukhi in Bengal’s Bankura district. With the nearest hospital being 45 kilometres away, a team of 13 doctors and 18 nurses ensured that the hospital catered to at least 200 patients every day, including BPL families and just within six months of launching the first Glocal hospital in July 2011, the hospital had reached the break-even point. “They have proved that social good and profit can go hand in hand,” says Sandeep Farias, Founding Partner of Elevar Equity, which invested Rs 15 crore in the company along with Sequoia Capital India in January 2011.
It was the untimely death of his father that led Azim, a trained medical doctor, to launch Glocal in July 2010. “My father died due to unnecessary treatments. I thought, if this can happen to me, a doctor and an IAS officer, what about others?” he said. At Glocal, his team has come up with a protocol-driven model, where the computerized system will help the doctor automate diagnosis of 42 diseases, ranging from ischemic heart disease to malaria, which they identified was affecting 95% of the patients. Azim points out that he is able to charge lower fees by restricting the infrastructure and protocols to the bare minimum. While a typical 100-bed hospital is about 70,000 square feet in size, Glocal has been able to restrict it to 30,000 square feet thus keeping cost of construction lower.
At around Rs 8 crore for a 100-bed hospital, a Glocal hospital is built at about 50% of the cost of a private secondary hospital. The company aims to reach over Rs 28 crore in revenue in fiscal year 2014. As Azim begins Glocal’s expansion beyond West Bengal, he is not resting on his laurels. “It has been exciting so far but there is much more work to do,” he says.
As this laudable venture looks at a future girdled with success, our country’s sub-urban and rural areas can heave a sigh of relief as for a simple fact, Glocal charges Rs 10,000 for a caesarean section, which costs about Rs 50,000 in other private hospitals – Glocal is an innovative design for a country in need…
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March 2010

IT's a home run

t's the worst of times and the best of times for software companies. Hit hard by the economic downturn in the West, the information technology (IT) sector has found an unlikely saviour in the Government, both at the Centre and in the states. An ambitious national e-governance plan requiring extensive use of IT for better delivery of schemes and projects has thrown open a wide basket of opportunities for services ranging from easy filing of tax returns to quick ticket reservation. Thanks to some hefty government orders, the IT industry whose exports were swept into rough seas owing to a sharp contraction in demand in the US and Europe--which accounted for 60 per cent of revenues--has recently posted a $50-billion turnover and is eyeing government projects worth a whopping Rs 30,000 crore

Sabahat Azim (L) of Srei Sahaj with SBI's J.K. Sinha at the launch ofa financial inclusion project in Delhi. R. Chandrasekhar, secretary IT, Government of India, describes this rush as a happy convergence between the huge amount of preparatory groundwork for e-governance and the global downturn. "It made the IT sector look much more towards the domestic economy than in the past," he says. More of such opportunities are going to drive the estimated 15-17 per cent growth of the sector in fiscal 2011. Agrees Som Mittal, president, Nasscom, "The domestic sector in the past year has witnessed a rapid growth, largely led by government spending on IT and forays by leading companies into the Indian market with special thrust on government projects. The Government's recognition of technology adoption has created a large opportunity for the industry to help the country leapfrog digital inclusion."

Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla (centre) at the launch of E-Filing facility of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board What is more important to India's service providers is that the Government is looking at it in a fundamentally different way. Karan Bajwa, general manager of public sector, Microsoft India, echoes the industry's feeling that from viewing it as an enabler, the Government is now looking at it as an agent of change. So if SAP India is securing orders to deploy its solutions in municipal corporations in Karnataka for modernisation of urban local bodies, Microsoft India is working with the Maharashtra Government to enhance Information and Communications Technology (ICT) adoption in education and for building employability. Anand Sankaran, head-India and Middle East, Wipro Infotech, says, "We have $1.1 billion revenue from India, of which 10 per cent comes from government projects compared to 5-6 per cent three years ago."

India's first successful project MCA21, completed by TCS, in full swing in Delhi A bulk of the contracts comes from the 27 Mission Mode Projects under the National e-Governance Plan. The plan offers the industry opportunities to use IT for improving efficiency of public services in transportation, healthcare, education, taxation, policing and judiciary among others. There are also e-infrastructure schemes like State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and State Data Centre (SDC). Of particular interest are the Finance Ministry's projects relating to Direct Tax Code, creation of a National Treasury Management Agency and Expenditure Information Network, the Education Department's e-learning initiative and the Rural Development Ministry's plans for e-panchayats and digitisation of land records. Of late, says Mittal, the excitement of the companies has swung to the Budget 2010 proposals on smart cards for NREGA and the Financial Inclusion Technology Fund.

There is plenty of action in the states too, especially in Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh that had earlier been left out by the first wave of the IT revolution. If Bihar wants to computerise its public service commission, Orissa wants IT service providers to bring in hassle-free e-registration of sale and purchase of land. In Madhya Pradesh, Anurag Srivastava, additional secretary, IT Department, is leading an initiative to provide computers in 2,000 government schools. Also, all states are undertaking reforms in state electricity boards to curb transmission losses with the use of IT, for which they have set aside Rs 2,000 crore each.
Needless to say, the volume of business is huge. "The Government spending on an annual basis is to the order of Rs 4,000-5,000 crore. It has announced allocation of 2-3 per cent of annual budget outlays for IT," says Chandrasekhar. According to Kapil Dev Singh of IDC, an IT advisory firm, the Government is estimated to have spent Rs 8,255 crore on IT this year, while in the pipeline for a 2011 roll-out are projects worth Rs 6,500 crore. Even CRISIL analysts see the Government becoming the top vertical of domestic IT service revenues by 2013-14, with share in services revenue climbing from 28 to 35 per cent in future. The reason for this happening only now, as Dilip Jha, vice-president of Mahindra Satyam, points out, is that in recent times, service providers have acquired a superior technological edge and are better equipped to serve the high-end and well-planned projects they find in India. Companies like Mahindra Satyam are creating separate units with a sales task force devoted to government projects and are trying to replicate the experience of handling governance projects in other parts of the world by bringing in best practices applied to such projects.

At Wipro, Sankaran is driving the company's presence in the healthcare space with a project for Employees State Insurance Corporation, which involves setting up a data centre and creating the entire hospital information system. The system will connect 1,200 dispensaries, 400 hospitals and 100 offices, provide the insured people with cards and create electronic health records. "After completion, the project will have 30,000-40,000 users and 2.4 crore IT insured people, the largest covered area in the world," he says.

TCS has embarked on Passport Seva. The Rs 1,000-crore project would automate passport issuance for citizens and deliver them within three days of application. There is also a Tatkal scheme where the passport would be delivered in a day. "In the beginning, over six million passports will be issued by the system every year and it will go on to approximately 14 million by the sixth year of the contract," says Tanmoy Chakrabarty, vice-president, public service, TCS. The company has already established its reputation for citizen service delivery excellence with the completion of Corporate Affairs Ministry's MCA21 project. The project is today facilitating better administration of companies by enabling 100 per cent electronic filing, electronic payment mechanisms, and use of digital signature certificates for all transactions.
Not to be left behind, Infosys is focusing on quality to design and implement power reforms in Karnataka to cut transmission losses, as well as in the Orissa Power Transmission Corporation's programme of implementation of Smart Grids. However, it is the eBiz Project awarded by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry which it considers an achievement. The highend task involves designing and developing an eBiz platform to develop a conducive business environment in India and provide the business community speedy access to information and services.
The focus for Bajwa is on accelerating the pace of government projects which he feels have been very slow, particularly in the Department of Posts. Microsoft India is spearheading Project Arrow, involving the phase-wise adoption of IT in making retail counters more efficient and cutting down on the delivery time of mail. In states like Gujarat, Microsoft has diversified to providing easier access to next-generation Microsoft tools and technologies for faculty and university students to help the latter improve their career prospects. In Uttarakhand, it is promoting computer literacy in Hindi by offering a Windows XP Starter Edition PC and other versions with Intel processors at easy installments.
Sandeep Raina, senior vice-president for Government, Cisco, a company which gets 30-35 per cent of the Government spend on IT projects, feels that the returns from working on projects like SWAN are higher as well as satisfying. He has been driving Cisco's e-learning initiative with the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOs) to introduce the ICT curriculum in six selected Accredited Vocational Institutes (AVIs) in Ambala, Bhopal, Balangir (Orissa), Delhi, Mumbai and Shillong. These institutes aim at providing hardware and networking courses to prepare students for IT-related careers.
Oracle has tapped a future growth driver in e-governance, the yet to be exploited financial inclusion arena. Under this scheme, 28,000 Common Service Centres (CSCs), powered by Oracle and set up by Sahaj, a subsidiary of Srei Infrastructure, will take banking services to the people. Accounts opened with the State Bank of India under the SBI-Sahaj partnership will help those benefitting from the NREGA scheme in the remotest parts of the country to manage their earnings. The Oracle powered CSCs have already reached 80,000 students with their e-learning projects.
This is just the beginning of a Westside story going desi with areas like internal security and defence set to unleash a bouquet of opportunities. What it translates into for the IT companies is replenished coffers, for the government transparency in service delivery, and for the aam aadmi services at low cost. It's a win-win situation for all.
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May 2009

ICT for Development in India – Opportunities & Challenges

The purpose of this interactive session is to address the opportunities and challenges created by the ICTs as substantial determinant of development. Presentations will be provided by key speakers and practitioners of ICT4D from India. The discussions will be moderated by the knowledge management team, and will be organized around the following themes:
  • Website Accessibility Standards: An Indian Perspective
  • Emerging Technology for Development in India
  • E governance in India
  • Measurement indicators for ICT for development assessment in a developing nation

In case of any questions, please contact

14:30 - 15:15 Session: 1 UNESCO’s Commitment: Use of ICTs as an Enabler for Development (South Asian Perspective): Ms. Iskra Panevska, Adviser for Communication and Information, UNESCO, New Delhi Cluster Office. E- Governance in India: An Overview: Mr. Shankar Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Department of Information and Communication Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India. Use of ICT’s in Leveraging Knowledge: Mr. Rajen Varada, Resource Person, UN Solution Exchange.
15:20 - 16:35 Session 2- Accessibility, Content and Technologies: Opportunities and Challenges Introduction and Background to Session: Ms Gitanjali Sah, Research Associate, UN Solution Exchange. Website & Content Accessibility: Mr. Dipendra Manocha, Coordinator, Developing Countries DAISY Consortium. Emerging Technologies for Development in India: Dr Sudhanshu Rai, Euro-India ICT R&D Project. Digital Content for Initiatives in India - Opportunities and Challenges: Mr. Ashis Sanyal, Senior Director, E-Governance Programme Management Unit (EGPMU), GoI.
16:45 - 17:30 Session 3 – Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)and ICTs: Opportunities and Challenges Showcase: Documentary on National e Governance Plan: Mr Shankar Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Department of Information and Communication Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India. ICTs- Achieving MDGs: Moderator: Mr Rajen Varada, Resource Person, UN Solution Exchange. Chaired by Mr. Ashis Sanyal, Senior Director, E-Governance Programme Management Unit (EGPMU), GoI. Education – Ms. Ashish Garg, Asia Regional Coordinator– India, Global e Schools Initiative Livelihood – Mr Anil Balani, Scientist F , Director, DIT, GoI and Mr CK Peetambaram, e Krishi, Kerala State IT Mission Health – Mr Syed Sabahat Azim, CEO, SREI Sahal Evillage Ltd., Media and MDGs: Mr. Ravi Gupta, Director, Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS), Noida. The Way Forward: Ms. Iskra Panevska, Adviser for Communication and Information, UNESCO, New Delhi Cluster Office.
July 2007

India: West Bengal to Set Up CSCs

In accordance with the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of government of India, 100,000 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) enabled e-Kiosks will be set up across the country. Interestingly, West Bengal emerged as the first state in India to finalize the Request for Proposal (RFP) and to sign the Master Service Agreement (MSA).

Under the NeGP - announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - implementation of Common Service Centers (CSCs) is the most important of the 4 pillars of the NeGP.

The government of India will be setting up CSCs across the states in India. These centers will become the delivery point for all e-governance and other services to the rural people. IT-based rural information services will be developed to provide rural information and services such as agriculture, education, vocational training, health, and hygiene. The idea is to provide sustainable digital access to rural communities.

smartBridges - a provider of wireless connectivity products - and SREI - a private sector infrastructure equipment finance, infrastructure project finance, and renewable energy product financing company - have partnered together for this project. While smartBridges will be looking after Research and Development (R&D) and rural connectivity project implementation expertise, SREI will look after the successful implementation of CSCs.

E-governance, information, utility, payments, deposits, insurance, and other financial services, along with a host of e-information and e-learning facilities will be delivered through these CSCs. There will be a single CSC for every 6 villages covering about 9,500 populations.

According to Sabahat Azim, CEO (Sahaj e-village) of SREI, the initial value of the project is Rs.100 crore. This project aims to positively impact the livelihood opportunities and living standards of rural communities.

Apart from SREI, the 6 contenders for this project in West Bengal were Zoom Developers, Wire & Wireless, Grasso, WEBEL, Reliance, and United Telecom.

Azim added that in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down in the RFP, the CSC needs to be operational within 1 year from the date of signing the MSA. It has been signed between SREI and West Bengal State Rural Development Agency on 5th April, 2008.

SREI and the government of West Bengal entered into an agreement for 4 years, with revenue support from the government of Rs.11.49 crore per annum for 4937 CSCs, which will be reviewed after 4 years.

SREI in technical collaboration with WIPRO Infotech, would implement the CSC project. The CSCs will be managed by 14 Regional Control Centers (RCCs) to be set up in the West Bengal districts - Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, South 24 Pgs, Howrah, Hooghly, Bankura, Midnapore (E), and Birbhum. A Central Control Center (CCC) in Kolkata will monitor these. A Data center/help line will be set up to manage and monitor.

With this project, 5000 entrepreneurs will be created all over the state, who will be the owners of kiosks, enabling a minimum of 5000 families to be the first beneficiaries of the project.

This project will also benefit the retailers, wholesalers, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs), and services sector. Corporates, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), banks, service providers, and commercial houses can sell their products through these CSCs.

Azmi informed that other places in India are also scouted for this project. As a matter of fact, SREI is eyeing on rolling out 50,000 CSCs in India, but this number may go beyond 50,000. "We are already awarded Letter of Intent from Bihar Govt. to roll out almost 5500 CSCs in Bihar," said Azim.

With such projects, the digital divide will be conquered and in many areas, millions of people will surf the internet for the first time.

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