Evaluating the Akshaya Project from a Gender Perspective: A Ground Level Reality
By Shambhu Ghatak1
In order to bridge the digital dividei, Kerala (a state situated at the southern part of India) started
with the 'Akshaya Project' on 18th of November, 2002. It was expected that Akshayaii will be a
watershed in effacing the divide between "information haves" and "information have-nots".
According to a report by The Tribune2, Chamravattom village in Kerala's Muslim-dominated
Malappuram district became the first village in India to be 100 per cent computer-literate3.
Map of Malappuram District
1 The study was conducted during the MIMAP Gender Planning Network Phase-III, under the sponsorship of
International Development Research Centre, Canada. The field visit was made during the months of May-June, 2004.
The views expressed are solely of the author, based on the interviews taken. Subjectivity on the part of the researcher
may make this report a bit biased. The field-based study took place when the author met with the district magistrate/
collector, local panchayats, Akshaya kiosk entrepreneurs, trainers and trainees, and officials from Kerala IT mission in
Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum. In Kerala, there is another initiative to digitize old manuscripts, which are
written on leaves. The author can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Many of the ICT related development
projects like Akshaya, e-choupal have received international recognition and awards.
2 See: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20030805/edit.htm#3. This is because Malappuram is an educationally
3 However, one must be careful while interpreting such propagandist reports, from a research perspective.
The following table 1 provides the distribution of population in rural and urban areas. Almost ninety
percent of the total population in Malappuram taluk resides in the rural areas.
Table 1: Distribution of population in rural and urban areas of different taluks of
Malappuram 90 10
Ernad 78 22
Nilambur 100 0
Perintalmann 92 8
Tirur 94 6
Tirurangadi 100 0
Ponnani 75 25
Note: Calculated on the basis of Census 2001 data
The following table 2 provides the sex ratio in different taluks of Malappuram.
Table 2: Sex Ratio in rural and urban areas of different taluks of Malappuram District
Rural Urban Total
Malappuram 1063 1061 1063
Ernad 1021 1036 1024
Nilambur 1065 ** 1065
Perintalmann 1042 1075 1044
Tirur 1096 1071 1095
Tirurangadi 1062 ** 1062
Ponnani 1106 1099 1104
Source: Census 2001 data
The following table 3 provides selected human development indicators for the various Indian
states. Kerala’s performance is genuinely better than the rest of the states in terms of higher life
expectancy at birth; lower infant mortality rates et al.
Table 3: Selected Human Development Indicators
Life Expectancy at Infant Mortality Rate Birth Death
Birth (2001-06) (per 1000 live births) Rate (per Rate
(2002) 1000) (per
State Male Female Male Female Total 2002* 2002*
Andhra 62.79 65.00 64.00 60.00 62.00 20.70 8.10
Assam 58.96 60.87 70.00 71.00 70.00 26.60 9.20
Bihar 65.66 64.79 56.00 66.00 61.00 30.90 7.90
Gujarat 63.12 64.10 55.00 66.00 60.00 24.70 7.70
Haryana 64.64 69.30 54.00 73.00 62.00 26.60 7.10
Karnataka 62.43 66.44 56.00 53.00 55.00 22.10 7.20
Kerala 71.67 75.00 9.00 12.00 10.00 16.90 6.40
Madhya 59.19 58.01 81.00 88.00 85.00 30.40 9.80
Maharastra 66.75 69.76 48.00 42.00 45.00 20.30 7.30
Orissa 60.05 59.71 95.00 79.00 87.00 23.20 9.80
Punjab 69.78 72.00 38.00 66.00 51.00 20.80 7.10
Rajasthan 62.17 62.80 75.00 80.00 78.00 30.60 7.70
Tamil 67.00 69.75 46.00 43.00 44.00 18.50 7.70
Uttar 63.54 64.09 76.00 84.00 80.00 31.60 9.70
West 66.08 69.34 53.00 45.00 49.00 20.50 6.70
India 63.87 66.91 62.00 65.00 63.00 25.00 8.10
Source: Economic Survey, 2004-05
Kerala has performed well in the past in terms of literacy and social protection to the unorganized
sector thanks to the trade union movement, presence of churches (with a large social base and
catering in the field of education) and presence of Left Front in power. Kerala's development
achievement is often been held as a model for its equity and is cited as an example of what mass
mobilization and public action can achieve by interfacing with responsive democratic governments.
The State has achieved good success in coverage of basic minimum services. Its universal public
distribution system provides reasonable food security despite being a food deficit state. Since
1975, Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum started bringing out the peculiarities of Kerala's
development process (popularly known as the Kerala model), in terms of social and human
development despite lagging economic development. During the period of late 1970s and entire
1980s, a parallel development in the form of migration to gulf countries and remittances from such
employment buoyed up the Kerala economy. Since the late 1990s and early 2000, the Kerala
development planning process started relying on projects (or programmes), sponsored by either
government or donor agencies, to combat some of the problems faced in the past such as
Head Quarters No. of Villages
Nilamboor Nilamboor 19
Eranad Manjeri 31
Perinthalmanna Perinthalmanna 24 unemployment, low
Thirur Thirur 30 economic progress
Ponnani Ponnani 11 compared to other states,
Thiroorangadi Thiroorangadi 18 nepotism, not reaching out
to the marginalized especially the tribals et al 4.
Malappuram district became the site of Akshaya Project because it had high mobile phone
penetration amidst the population, and people had purchasing power in their hands (owing to the
inflow of remittances from the Gulf). Malappuram is usually seen as an educationally backward
district compared to rest of the districts of Kerala. In order to disseminate information to the people,
government sponsored advertisements were put in some of the local newspapers5, and registration
of applicants was made in the districts panchayats. Information was also disseminated in informal
ways (for e.g. people got the information from their friends and colleagues who worked at the zilla
panchayat office/ panchayats). Around 2000 applications were filed by the potential Akshaya
entrepreneurs for the opening of the Akshaya centres6. Loans were arranged for the potential
entrepreneurs from the local banks (such as Western Union Money Transfer Bank), without the
need for collateral, at a minimal rate of interest spanning between 12-13 percent. It was mandatory
for the entrepreneurs to keep at least three trainers and five computers in these Akshaya Centres.
Arrangements were made so that the Akshaya entrepreneurs could be trained, and work in
collaboration with the local panchayats.
The district of Malappuram, at present comprises 6 taluks and 14 Development Blocks. It has 5
towns and 135 inhabited villages.
No. of Villages 135 behind the Akshaya
No. of Blocks 14 Project is to develop
No. of Panchayats 100 over 10,000
No. of Municipalities 5 numbers of
networked Multi-purpose Community Information kiosks 7 (can be called Akshaya Centers) to
provide ICT access to the entire population of the state, starting from the district of Mallapuram. At
4 See: http://www.kerala.gov.in/dept_planning/ecnomicrvw_10.htm
5 Akshaya tied up with Madhyavan Daily for the e-vidya programme [The news came in The Hindu dated April 6,
2004. It says that the then Information Technology Mission Secretary, Aruna Sunderrajan launched the e-education (e-
vidya) in Manjeri on April 5, 2004. The programme was jointly conducted by the Akshaya project and Madhyamam
daily]. The researcher had the privilege of listening to her during the workshop on Scaling up ICT for Poverty
Alleviation in India Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, during February 26-27, 2004.
6 As per the interview conducted
7 One must be careful to distinguish between call centres and kiosks since the latter are working for a more social
cause and have a broader base of customers. To know about a comparative study on Karnataka’s Bhoomi programme
and another such programme in West Bengal, see: Computerization of Land Records in West Bengal by Manoj Ahuja
and AP Singh in Man and Development, March 2006, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1. The use of GUI version of software in the
Bhoomi programme gives it an added edge. The West Bengal model depends on usage of MS-DOS, whereas the
least one person in each of the 65 lakh families in the state will be made IT-literate. Enhancing the
quality of available IT infrastructure in the state is another objective, including the state of
electricity. To bridge the rural-urban divide, IT infrastructure will be expanded to the rural partsiii.
Through achieving the above-mentioned objectives, the state of Kerala is expected to
Create and expand economic opportunities in the knowledge economy.
Empower individuals and communities through enhanced access to information.
Modernize and upgrade skill sets.
Integrate communities through creation of e-networks.
Create awareness of ICT tools & usage.
Generate locally relevant content.
Generate over 50,000 direct employment opportunities in 3 years.
Generate direct investment of over Rs. 500 crores in 3 years
The chart 1 below provides the fact sheet of the Akshaya programme.
Chart 1: Fact Sheet about Akshaya Programme in Malappuram District
(i) No. of Families 7.5 lakhs
(ii) Panchayats 100
(iii) Municipalities 5
(iv) Block Panchayats 14
(v) Constituencies 12
(vi) Akshaya Centres 696
(vii) Trainee / Families per centre 600-1200
(viii) Investments / Centre Rs. 2-3 lakh
(ix) Computer per centre 5-10
(x) E – Literacy course duration per
(xi) Block coordinators 6
(xiii) Panchayat / Municipality
(xiv) Master Trainees 2000
Source: Taken from the Akshaya project website (during the year 2004), www.akshaya.net
The CTCs (computer training centres/ kiosks) will function mainly with the following services:
Kerala’s Akshaya model is Windows-based (and uses Wireless Local Loop—WLL technology, and the content is in
Malayalam and Arabic—the official language of Kerala).
Continued e-learning program
Data entry under E-governance program
DTP and Job work
Other computer training for public
Design of invitation cards, visiting cards, banners, posters, paper bags etc and Screen
Data Bank Services
A District level Entrepreneur Support System (ESS) is proposed to be set up under joint initiative of the IT Mission
District Panchayat and Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development (STED) Project. It will be able to
assist the CTCs by way of:
Entrepreneurship Management Development Program
Technical guidance for continuous improvements
Content generation related assistances etc.
The support will be necessary for at least 2 years.
The Entrepreneurs of CTCs will be provided with refresher/motivational packages from time to time to make
them successful in the changing environment. Unlike conventional EDPs, the package will be designed in 12
modules of 2-3 days and conducted once in two or three months, with a brick-cement-brick approach.
Besides, the ESS will also be able to assist the CTCs in tapping orders and marketing services especially in
the potential environment of implementation of E-Governance (e.g.: massive data entry).
o Space - 500 sq.ft.
o Networked Multimedia Pentium computers with colour monitors - 10 nos. (own 5 nos, rented 5 nos.)
o UPS - 4 KVA
o Printer - 1 no.
o Internet connection
o Sufficient furniture
o The centre should be easily accessible to the Public
Training centres - new units
o Physical requirements equal to existing centres.
o Women having background of BEd, TTC etc, and PGDCA/DCA are most considerable
o In the absence of sufficient numbers of the above categery, Computer literates (in windows based operations) with
o Individual entreprneurs (Proprietorship) or a small unemployed group of not more than 3 persons are preferable.
o The selection should be done by a commitee as follows:
President, District Panchayath - Chairman
General Manager, DIC - Member
Manager, District Lead Bank - Member
Representative of IT Dept.
Representative from other financial institutions- Member
Project Director, STED Project - Member
o Necessary financial support may be made available to the entrepreneurs through PMRY Schemes, KVIC margin
money schemes etc.
--Taken from PROPOSAL FOR AN INTEGRATED PROJECT ON BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE CAMPAIGN
(Culminating into Sustained e-Literacy and Mass Employment Generation), A Draft Report
LOOPHOLES IN THE AKSHAYA PROGRAMME8
(i) Gender Equality: It is obvious that generating gender equity was not part of the
objectives and also the strategies behind the Akshaya programmeiv. Developing
entrepreneurial skill [such as the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) of
the UNDP] among women, was never part of the agenda, unlike the other programme
i.e. Kudumbashree9. As per the interviewv conducted with the women entrepreneurs,
some of the problems they faced came to the forefront. They are: (a) mobility of
women is suspected, even for weekly or monthly meetings held with the Akshaya
officials as a part of mitigating problems/ arrival of new packages (part of training); (b)
difficulty in managing both the kiosks and the household chores; (c) some women
(hindus) face problem from the men community (which is predominantly muslim)
regarding setting up of kiosks; (d) initial hindrance (in terms of permission granted by
the family members); (e) Most of the women had to close down their kiosks as they
could not run their businesses due to non-profitability by the end of the III phase of
Akshaya programme10 (the number of women entrepreneurs came down from over 85
to around 25); (f) Lack of mentors in the family for encouraging them to take such
activities (no. of applications put forward by the women was low)11; (g) The Akshaya/
government officials seemed to be not have been gender sensitized, while training the
entrepreneurs so that they can help them with the new technology (neither all of them
were aware of the type of problems female entrepreneurs face)12; (h) Women
8 It is perceived by the researcher that owing to lack of a set of indicators to cross check (for the purpose of evaluation
and monitoring) the progress of the programme when it is conceived, can give rise to such problem/s. However, one
should not avoid taking into consideration human errors. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) provides
a list of indicators, which is provided in the endnotes. It has recently come to the knowledge of the researcher that the
Akshaya programme has been scaled up to the entire state of Kerela, having 5000 e-kendras (Source: The Penguin
India Reference Yearbook 2006, page no. 21).
9 Note: Kudumbashree, means prosperity of the family. Kudumbashree indicates the approach of the State Poverty
Eradication Mission, which was launched on 1st April 1999 as a partnership of the State Government, Central
Government, Local Governments and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for
eradicating poverty. A poverty alleviation programme, where skill is generated among women from the Self Help
10From the III phase onward, Akshaya was gradually becoming more commercial-oriented, demanding for extra
entrepreneurial skills and enterprise.
11Kerala has showed better human development indicators for females in the areas of literacy, sex ratio etc.,
compared to the other Indian states. However, there are some discouraging facts too which are emerging. Cases of
dowries demanded are on the rise. For a more elaborate picture on such issues see: Gender, Property Rights and
Responsibility for Farming in Kerala by Praveena Kodoth (Economic and Political Weekly, May 8, 2004).
12 Pattatucci [(ed.) (1998): Women in Science: Meeting Career Challenges. New Delhi, Sage Publications)] documents
research that shows that right from childhood women are discouraged from studying science. Parents are more willing
to send their sons to studying science and technology in higher education. Girls are encouraged to take up arts and
commerce. It is a perceived notion in the society that women are incapable of understanding the language of
mathematics. However, the enrolment of women in undergraduate courses in engineering and technology in India has
risen from a meagre 0.09% in 1971 to 10.09% in 1991. The proportion of women in total enrolment in pure science
subjects in colleges and universities rose from 7.1% in 1950-51 to 34.17% in 1996-97 [See: Chanana, Karuna (2000):
Treading the Hallowed Halls: Women in Higher Education, in Economic and Political Weekly, 35(12): 1012-22].
entrepreneurs seldom run their kiosks during night hours, which can affect the
profitability since this is the time during which chances of doing business is high; in the
day time people will hardly come to the kiosks (they are highly dependent on male
colleagues who are paid to work during night shifts)13; (i) Some of the women
interviewed were very casual in their approach and were dependent on their husbands
for running the kiosks; (j) Some of the women faced the problem of arranging credit
from banks for opening up their kiosks.
(ii) Selection of Entrepreneurs: Although in the course of interview, the researcher
found that most of the entrepreneurs had basic degrees in software and / hardware
(and even electronic engineering) applications, but very few were formally trained as
entrepreneurs. Some of the entrepreneurs were selected through the ‘backdoors’, thus
giving rise to their problem of inefficient managerial capabilities. However, most of
them were selected through interviews. The total number of kiosks came down from
around 625 (when Akshaya started) to below 600 (during the time of field visit). Lack of
training (for updating the knowledge base) as had been planned, could be another
factor for closures of the kiosks. Some of the centres have been closed down since the
entrepreneurs left for Gulf.
Brief Profile of the Entrepreneurs Interviewed:
Sex Location Educational Source/s of Credit
Male Malappuram NA Bank (name not available)
Male Kondotty Diploma in NA
Male Kuzhimanna Diploma in NA
Male Nilambur Post South Malabar Bank
Male Mampad NA Keltron
Male Kolikkara Doing NA
Male Naduvattam Diploma in NA
Male Fakir Beach, NA NA
However, one can see that the participation of children and females during the day time as a part of e-training and e-
Female Tirur (coastal Diploma in Canara Bank
Female Nilambur NA Keltron
Female Panthavoor Post South Malabar Grain Bank
Total No. of 8
Total No. of 3
Note: NA means not available
(iii) State of Infrastructure: In some parts of the Malappuram town, there seemed to be
high prevalence of power cuts. The state of electricity (power) in the state of Kerala
seemed to have suffered, as was reported by some of the interviewees. The Akshaya
entrepreneurs suffered when there were initial setbacks due to VSNL (Videsh Sanchar
Nigam Ltd.) moving out from providing Internet connection. It took some time till Tulip
(a Delhi based company) came into the picture.
(iv) Lack of Knowledge: In one of the interviews conducted with a district level
government official (name withheld), it came to the knowledge of the researcher that
he lacked the information that State Government’s IT policy can be influential in
promotion of IT. Instead he recommended for the influence of State Government’s IT
policy for BPO industry (to make the BPO industry more gender sensitive in terms of
better work environment; social security etc.)
(v) Prioritization of Programmes: During the interview, it came to the knowledge that in
the II Phase of the Akshaya, problems (political in nature) were encountered by the
Akshaya officials in generating awareness about the uses of IT amidst panchayat/
taluk/ district level workers. Some of the gram sabha /panchayat/ taluk/ district level
workers demanded for giving priority to basic amenities instead of IT.
(vi) Capacity Building: It was expected that e-literacy drive will lead to better demand for
IT services by the community. However, in some of the areas (Nilambur, a tribal hilly
belt, where rubber plantation and other such plantations take place), it was found that
the kiosks could not target the population since they were illiterate and poor, and
lacked basic facilities. Distance to the nearest hospital was more than 20 kms.
(vii) Preference for Private Institutes: In some cases it was found that the kiosks are not
running well, since people prefer private institutes over Akshaya centres because of
the quality of training imparted. Moreover, some of the private centres guaranty
employment after the training is over (as was reported). Although some male
entrepreneurs remarked that Akshaya provides a cheap and better quality education.
POSITIVE FEATURES OF THE AKSHAYA PROGRAMME
(i) Generating Employment: The Akshaya programme has generated employmentvi for
the youths, particularly women for work like DTP, typing etc. It promises for utilisation
of human capital left untapped in the state of Kerala. Trainees particularly women can
search for better employment opportunities at the end of their course.
(ii) IT Literacy: Akshaya programme provides cheaper e-literacy courses to the people.
The courses offered ranges from easier ones (like MS Office, DTP) to harder ones
(like Diploma courses). Opening up of Akshaya centres in backward areas like Fakir
Beach has helped backward communities to learn basic IT skills.
(iii) Enhancing Communication/s: Internet enabled kiosks are used by people to contact
their relatives/ friends who are staying abroad (such as Gulf) or other states.
Communication is also done for marketing of products.
(iv) Providing e-Services: Akshaya kiosks are providing a range of services like
registration of births and deaths; collection and feeding of health related data (in a way
acting as databanks) of the local population (by tying up with local panchayats/ PRIs)
through FRIENDS survey; tying up with banks (like Western Union Money Transfer
Bank) for e-transfer of money; working in collaboration with other private companies
for data feeding (outsourced work)
There are always some plus and minus points, which emerges out when one does evaluation.
However, that helps in learning, and remodeling the framework for scaling up of such ICT
programme. Sustainability of the programme is the most difficult part in the long run, which requires
long-term vision. It is crucial to mention that there has been a healthy rise in the number of India’s
IT professionals over the last decade. From a base of 6,800 knowledge workers in 1985-86, the
number increased to 522,000 software and services professionals by the end of 2001-02, thanks to
the IT policy of the government and the role played by the corporate sector. It is estimated that out
of these 522,000 knowledge workers, almost 170,000 are working in the IT software and services
export industry; around 106,000 are working in the IT enabled services and over 220,000 in user
14 Accessed from: http://www.nasscom.org/artdisplay.asp?cat_id=303
i The term “digital divide” refers to the gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at
different socio-economic levels with regard both to their opportunities to access information and communication
technologies (ICTs) and to their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities (Understanding the Digital Divide,
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2001)
Several ventures have been initiated in the past to bridge the “digital divide”. These ventures have enjoyed varying
degrees of success. Digital divide has multiple dimensions and challenges. To make sufficient impact, a holistic
attempt is needed to be made. Notable among the Indian initiatives are -
Vidyarthi Computer Programme
Antyodaya Computer Literacy Programme
Gyandoot, Madhya Pradesh
Warna 'Wired Village', Maharashtra
Electronic Village, Pondicherry (by MS Swaminathan Research Foundation)
Karnataka’s Bhoomi Project et al
Key Recommendations by NASSCOM for the growth of the IT sector in India.
Some key initiatives which needs to be pursued by the Government are:
1. IIT / IIIT in every state
2. Important Courses to be offered by IIT / IIITs
3. Deemed University status for IIITs
4. More PhDs required
5. Train the teachers program
6. Bridge Courses: Reengineering the courses of engineering colleges
7. Providing IT Modules to every graduation course
8. Increasing the output of the engineering stream
9. Networking of Educational Institutes
10. Re-training industry experts
The potential contribution of information technology to employment generation can be both direct and indirect.
Directly, the growth of the computer hardware and software industries will generate new job opportunities in India.
Indirectly, the adoption of computer technology by other industries will expand the range of services they provide and
can stimulate more rapid growth of these sectors. The indirect impact of IT is far greater than the direct impact. In the
USA, it is estimated that for every direct job created in the IT industry, 3-4 jobs are created by indirect ones. Studies by
the National Research Council in the USA have found that IT has a fascinating impact on the growth of a wide range of
In 1990 India’s IT industry generated $7.7 billion in revenues, 15 times the level in 1980. Exports rose from $150
million in 1990s to nearly $4 billion in 1999. With a compounded annual growth rate of more than 50% between 1991
and 2001, the India IT software and services sector has expanded almost twice so fast as the US software sector
though from a smaller base.
Phase-wise Implementation of the Akshaya Programme
I Phase: In the 1st phase, the idea of Akshaya Programme was conceived. Akshaya Centres were perceived as
community kiosks for serving the community and a storehouse of information for study and research activities.
II Phase: The concept of Akshaya was brought before the panchayat. Initially, there was discontentment among
panchayat members of giving priority to IT over other basic amenities such as water, shelter etc. However, by constant
engagement of the Akshaya officials with the panchayat level, block level and district level workers, misconceptions
about IT and its impact were cleared out. Efforts were made to build capacity for IT.
III Phase: During the 3rd phase, applications were invited from the potential Akshaya entrepreneurs. Out of 2000
applicants, 630 were selected after the interviews. Initially VSNL (Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited) was chosen to give
the Internet connection to the Akshaya entrepreneurs. But after three months of delay, the contract was given to Tulip
(a Delhi based Network Company). For the starting up of Akshaya Centres, collateral free loans were arranged for the
entrepreneurs. In some of the cases, Akshaya officials intervened directly to ease such processes. During this phase,
e-literacy campaigns were undertaken by the entrepreneurs. At least 1 member from each household was selected for
this e-literacy campaign. During the e-literacy campaign, 10 lessons, each costing Rs. 2/-, were taught. The entire
course consumed 15 hours of every individual, as a part of the capacity building. The advanced level training course
was which cost around Rs. 450 for 50 hours of training was also provided by some of the Akshaya centres.
IV Phase : The IV phase was about to start from June 2004 where the Akshaya Centres will provide services like
information on health, literature, education, law, career training centres etc. During the IV phase, FRIEND’s survey will
be undertaken by the entrepreneurs in order to know the community’s demand for important IT services. Such services
may include registration for birth, death and married certificates, payment of electricity and water bills etc. Around 45
such services will be given by the Akshaya Centres depending on the communities preferences. Under the 4th phase,
Akshaya built a partnership with INTEL to provide a short term IT course, costing Rs. 450/- (Rs. 100/- as the
examination fee + Rs. 350/- as the course fee). Through the FRIEND’s survey, health mapping of the entire community
will be undertaken. Grassroots level data can be fed into the Akshaya info bank that may later help in putting such data
into the Census and also for policy intervention. Till then (during the time of the field visit) only 2 panchayats have
completed the health mapping programme.
In the coming days, the number of access points is going to rise and competition is going to get tougher. Akshaya is
conceived on wireless connectivity because of the difficult terrain. Although initially there were around 630 Akshaya
centres but during the time of the survey, the number has come down to 582. Total number of female entrepreneurs is
around 25 to 30 that used to more 85.
There are several other ICT related projects running in India. I am providing the minutes of one conference which I
attended, that can be of help to understand different models of ICT related interventions.
Minutes of the first day of the workshop named ‘Scaling Up ICT Use for Poverty Alleviation in India’,
26-27 February, 2004
Organised by Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Sponsored by Nasscom, World Bank and Ministry of IT, GoI
Bakul Dholakia, Director IIM-A
The inaugural session started with an introduction of IIM-A by the current IIM Director Mr. Bakul Dholakia. He informed
that IIM-A was established through the joint efforts of Government of India, State Government of Gujarat and Indian
industries. IIM-A was the brain child of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. He said that IIM-A was conceived not to be purely a
business school, but a school of management. IIM-A has worked in other areas too apart from business, where
principles of management are required and can be applied. IIM-A opened the Centre for Management of Agriculture
after its inception. The Public Systems Group was started during the 1970s which looked into the areas of population
control, transportation, health care etc. Public Systems Group has also imparted training to the IAS officers and public
servants. Research carried out by Public Systems Group is widely recognized today.
The post-graduate programme in management and the fellow programmes are well recognized by the industrial
community. He informed that IIM-A ranks first among the management schools in entire Asia according to all the 7
surveys (2 international surveys and 5 domestic surveys) carried out in the year 2003. IIM-A is interested in looking at
the future from a global perspective.
Mr. Dholakia informed the audience that IIM-A is interested to compete with management schools of North America.
According to a survey of top business schools by The Economist, IIM-A ranks 45th.
IIM-A is not only interested in building institutions but also linking institutions. IIM-A is interested in research and
development too. IIM-A has been working on ICT for development for the last 2 decades. IIM-A has done a project on
ICTs in the tribal area of Dharampur. IIM-A has also done action research in Surendra Nagar in collaboration with CMC
during the mid-1980s. It has also done a project related to ICTs and dairy production in Panchmar district.
Finally during the 1990s, the Centre for Computers was opened in IIM.
Kiran Karnaik, President NASSCOM
Kiran Karnaik opened up his speech by bringing to everybody’s knowledge the enormous growth IT sector has seen
over the past 1 decade. The rapid growth in IT exports has made one to think whether India is really shining. He said
that IT sector has provided employment to urban youths coming from middle-class background. But he was critical
about ICT’s role in poverty alleviation. He said that despite the success of some ICT projects, there has been little
scaling up. He questioned why the Bhoomi project was not extended to the entire country. He informed about the
issues related to scaling up of ICT projects. He said that extension in rural areas is difficult because of the existing
social structure. There are groups with vested interests who will oppose the spread of ICTs. Although corporate sector
has taken initiatives but more efforts are needed. He informed about the NASSCOM Foundation which was established
almost a month back to create fund for the development and diffusion of ICTs in rural and backward areas.
He added that government has to play a big role in the expansion and scaling up of ICT projects. He informed that
Department of Electronics (now Dept. of IT) was established way back in 1970s by the Government of India to promote
the development of new technology. He said that government can’t be wished away. Central, state and local
governments have to be involved for the expansion of ICT in rural areas. He emphasized that corporate sector and
NGOs have to work together with the government machinery for getting desired results.
He finished by saying that action oriented projects are needed to spread ICT and to get desired results (poverty
alleviation and growth).
Subhash Bhatnagar, Co-ordinator of the Workshop Scaling Up ICT Use for Poverty Alleviation in India
Prof. Subhash Bhatnagar said that the new technology has enormous potential. He was hopeful about the scaling up of
ICT because of the positive experiences gathered by the pilot projects during the past few years. Although positive
results came up from small projects but there is need for scaling up. He emphasized the need for partnership among
government, NGOs and the corporate sector. He said that poverty should not be seen in a narrow sense but in a
broader sense. He further added that it is in the interest of corporate sector to remove poverty.
He said that government has now realized the advantages of working with NGOs and corporate sector for promoting
the expansion of new technology.
He later explained about the structure of the present workshop.
Mr. Robert Schware, World Bank
Robert Schware informed about World Bank and NASSCOM who worked together for a strategy to boost IT exports
from $60,000 million in 1990 to over a billion $ in the year 2000. However, due to the competitive spirit of the Indian IT
industry, the target of 1 billion $ exports could be achieved in the year 1995 itself. He emphasized that the current
workshop should search for a mechanism for moving the pilot projects to their second stage.
Post-Tea First Session
‘Where Does India Stand in terms of the Digital Divide and the Way Forward’
The post tea session was chaired by Mr. R Chandrashekhar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Communication and IT, Govt.
of India. He said that India is quite often compared with a snake, with its head in the 21 st century and tail in the 18th
century. But India has done well in the area of ICT development and experimentation. The experimentations carried
out have led to huge stock of knowledge. However, India is facing the grim problem of digital divide.
‘Digital Divide: Where Does India Stand? And the Way Forward’--Prof. Subhash Bhatnagar, IIM-A
Prof. Bhatnagar’s paper had two parts: one addressing the relevance of scaling up of a large number of pilot projects
and another addressing the impact of ICT on rural areas. He said that ICT can play a vital role regarding: (i)
procurement of produce; (ii) spread of knowledge and information useful for economic activities; (iii) imparting training
and education for enhancing employment and economic opportunities and; (iv) supply of inputs. He said that ICT can
help in successful delivery of health and education services.
He informed the audience about the telecenter projects happening around in India. A chart displaying the different
telecenter projects is provided below.
Telecenter Projects running in India
Name No. of kiosks Agency Years Activity
Bhoomi 30 Govt. of Karnataka 2 Land title
e-chaupal 3500 (5) ITC 2 Procurement
Warna 72 (54) NIC 3 Cane Factory
Akshaya 617 Kerala 1 e-literacy
Melur, Nellikuppam, 200 n-Logue 1 Internet kiosks
TaraHaat 18 Development 1 E training, market
Drishtee 90-5states Digital Partners 1 Mandi prices, land
Milk Coops 5000 NDDB 5 Milk collection
CIC (NE) 30 NIC, MIT 1-2 Internet access
While speaking on the lessons learnt from the pilot projects, he said that barring a few cases, in case of most of the
projects, success depend on efforts made by individual and experimentation done by NGOs. There are certain
disadvantages associated with these pilot projects. First of all, these projects concentrate on one or two things. Most of
the pilot projects have narrow objectives and are not multi-functional. They attract few users as services are not
valued. There is a problem of narrow customer base as people are illiterate and seldom understand the value for these
services. In certain cases, people may not be wiling to pay for the services if there isn’t true value addition. So in such
cases, pilots are unviable to begin with or do not sustain after the initial success. He said that there is lack of initiative
or leadership in gearing up for the success of projects. Success of a project does not depend necessary on individual
effort but on organizational effort. He added that the people involved in a project have to discover what can create
value. He said that some early successes, say gainful employment of rural youths in ICT sector, are essential for the
projects to continue. For measuring the success of a project one should not only take into consideration the viewpoint
of media and those who implemented it, but also those for whom the pilot project has been implemented. Involving big
organisations in these projects is essential not only for getting fund but also for gaining the managerial experiences of
He said that successful models for scaling up need involvement of big organisations, economic viability of projects, and
inclusion of rural entrepreneurs, intermediary organisations and NGOs. He said that large organisations (such as
Hindustan Lever dealing in FMCGs operating in rural areas derive values from efficient business transactions). If the
clients are benefited, then they will get attracted to the services provided by such organisations. In such cases, the
project will become economically viable. Citing the example of e-chaupal project which is operating in Madhya
Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Bhatnagar said that similar models can be started for
trading in milk, handicraft, leather and handlooms. He said that projects like Bhoomi (operating in Karnataka) and
Akshaya (operating in Kerala) are economically viable as they charge fees for valued services and consumers too are
ready to pay for that. He informed that Drishtee follow a different business model by partnering with providers of valued
services and rural entrepreneurs who create access points. He mentioned that the pilot projects carried out by NGOs
and individuals need to be scaled up.
While speaking on the economic viability of projects, he said that it is relatively easy to charge fee when individual
derive value. But when the society/ community derive value, fee cannot be charged since it is difficult to monetize such
values. He cited the examples of various projects some of which are economically viable and some economically non-
viable. But hardly any example was available where projects are run through participation or projects which have
objectives of empowerment and advocacy. He emphasized that simple publication and content development does not
mean empowerment. What we need are grassroots level organisations that can help in capacity building. Later
economic value will drive the movement.
According to Prof. Bhatnagar, four major steps required for bridging the growing digital gap are:
(i) Technology that makes rural access inexpensive and robust.
(ii) Applications that draw a large cliental who are ready for paying, thus ensuring the economic viability of
(iii) Content that empowers rural citizens, thus enabling the formation of communities.
(iv) NGOs and grassroot organisations that catalyze and manage the community building process.
While speaking about the major ingredients of success, he said that the presence of four elements are required:
access (presence of access points providing cheap services), content (which is lucid and valuable), intermediaries (like
Drishtee) and killer application (which is useful and produces value). He said that building up of partnership among
corporate sector, NGOs, civil society and various levels of governments, is one of the major requisites for success. He
said that telecom regulatory policies and privatization policies of the power sector are vital ingredients behind the
spread of ICT. The onus of creating the right kind of value for a service falls on the implementing organisation. The
onus of creating awareness and building capacity falls on the NGOs and other civil society organisations. A strong
political will of the government and a positive business attitude by the corporate sector are needed for building up an
efficient institution. Involvement of big and major organisations is needed for managerial skills and to channelize funds.
While analyzing the strategies to be followed for bridging digital divide, he provided a four quadrant chart. He said that
there are 4 different routes to spreading ICT depending on the size of village and economic potential/ viability of the
project. In the case of projects taking place in big villages and which have high economic potential/ viability, private
sector should enter first, to be followed by the government. In the case of projects taking place in big villages and
which have low economic potential/ viability, government should provide the leadership and the private players can
create access points. In the case of projects taking place in small villages but having high economic potential/ viability,
private players and NGOs can enter and work hand-in-hand. In the case of projects taking place in small villages but
having low economic potential/ viability, individual entrepreneurs should be encouraged and the content can then be
provided by few private players.
Since the workshop was meant to raise fund for the NASSCOM Foundation for the spread of ICT in rural areas, a
glimpse of the social applications fund was provided in a chart form, as shown below.
Some of the comments which were made after Prof. Bhatnagar finished his presentation are:
(i) Involvement of corporate sector in the projects should be given more priority compared to the
involvement of government and the NGOs.
(ii) Use of ICT should target raising the productivity levels.
(iii) Venture capital should be given a chance in the pilot projects.
(iv) There should be movement from public private partnership to multi-sector partnership. More stress
should be given on institutional partnership and less on individual relationship.
(v) Mr. Kiran Karnaik while replying to a comment said that NASSCOM is very much a part of the corporate
sector and in no way anybody is undermining the role of the corporate sector. He said that working with
other agencies is essential.
(vi) Chetan Sharma (CEO of Datamation) said that kiosk owners earn less. He said that issuing of land
certificates is a one time revenue earning affair for the kiosk owners. He emphasized the need for
developing multilingual and multicultural content for the rural citizens. He asked why the content of
Development Gateway (a World Bank driven website) is not in Indian languages. He asked for starting
ICT pilot projects for the benefit of urban poor.
(vii) Other questions raised are: Who will pay? Who will provide the services? Who should project what?
Who should be the driver of projects? Are the citizens really ready to pay? What percentage of revenue
will make the application viable? Are we looking for a programme or a paradigm?
Social Applications Fund at a Glance
Attributes Proposal Remarks
Size $ 200 million Enable 40,000 telecenters covering
200,000 villages to be created
Scope: Nature of projects to be Scaling up of pilots Primary purpose of fund
supported Replicating successful use Continuous need for
in other geographies experimentation
New pilots of significant
Scope: Activity to be supported Building content for delivery Will not support provision of
of information and services access to basic telephony
Establishing access points and computerization of
Training and back end within govts.
R&D for facilitating use
connectivity, ease of use
Type of organisation to be supported Pvt. Sector, NGOs and govts. in Will promote pvt. initiatives and
partnership with organisations, public-pvt. Partnership
Educational and R&D institutions
Nature of assistance Loans at subsidized Subsidies for replacing and
interest rates for replication scaling up in areas with low
and scaling up economic potential
Grants for pilots Profit is not a motive but
Interest free loans for pilots sustainability needs to be
ensured by recovering
investments made through
Management and administration Managed by MIT, GoI through a Donors will be most
Board administered by NASSCOM comfortable with govt.
through a multi-stakeholder managed funds
committee Can build the capacity to
Post-tea Second Session:
‘Challenges in Scaling up ICT Projects for Poverty Reduction and Education: Learning from Experience’
This session was chaired by Rashid Kidwai of Digital Partners, India. He said that initiatives can be taken up by the
government, private sector and individuals. He said that projects should identify needs. He asked whether
infrastructure developed by somebody can be used by anybody else. He spoke about the Bhoomi project’s
sustainability where villagers pay Rs. 25/- for getting a land certificate. Out of this Rs. 25/-, the kiosk owner keeps Rs.
10/- and pays the rest Rs. 15/- to the government.
‘Akshaya Program of Kerala’—Aruna Sundararajan, IT Secretary, Kerala
Ms. Aruna Sundararajan initiated her talk by saying that the objective of the Akshaya project, which started in June
2003, is to provide unlimited opportunities. She said that Akshaya is not a uni-dimensional but a multidimensional
project. Its goal is not only to spread digital literacy but also to bridge digital divide. The Information Technology
Department, Govt. of Kerala started Akshaya project for ensuring broad-based access to ICT, for providing e-literacy
and for making available content relevant to the local population in the local language. As a part of the initiative, at
least one person in each of the 65 lakh families in the state will be made IT-literate. However, the Akshaya project is
currently operating in Malappuram district (one of the most backward district in Kerala in terms of literacy) only. Eighty
percent of the Malappuram’s population is Muslim. Twenty five percent of the families in Malappuram have at least one
member who works in Gulf.
The Akshaya centres are run by private entrepreneurs. Akshaya centres are being set up within 2 km of every
household. Malappuram has a robust network of 617 e-centres catering to over 6,00,000 households in the district.
Each Akshaya centre educates at least 1 person from each of the 1000 families.
Before the Akshaya project was launched, a survey was conducted to find the penetration of computer and Internet. A
19 indices survey was done to find the ideal location of ICT/ Internet kiosks/ centres. Once the locations were found,
advertisements were given in local newspapers. IEC campaign also took place to spread awareness about the concept
of Akshaya. Ms. Sundararajan informed that by the end of training 1000 members, 40% of the capital invested by the
kiosk owner would be recovered. According to Ms. Sundararajan, scaling up is not possible without talking about
access points. She complained that the Government of India has not taken into consideration STD/ PCO booth models
while doing the pilot projects in India. She said that infrastructure is a bottleneck for the diffusion of ICT. She said that
electricity situation in Malappuram is quite poor.
She said that Internet can be used for: (i) communication; (ii) continuing education; (iii) public services provided by
government—e-governance; (iv) services provided by the corporate sector such as health etc.
There are two key things related to scaling up which she mentioned in her speech:
(i) The key to scaling up is economic viability of the project. In India, cost of accessibility is too high;
(ii) Existing content may not be useful. Today, 98% of the content available is irrelevant for the rural people.
She also mentioned about the challenges regarding scaling up:
(i) Government has to play a sensitive role. Government should not appropriate private sectors space.
(ii) There is need for convergence of ideas which will be provided by the corporate sector, the NGOs, the
civil society and the government.
(iii) Political commitment is required for scaling up ICT projects.
(iv) The partners in a project should not go for a piecemeal type of effort.
(v) There is need for killer applications. Projects should produce some early results.
‘e-Chaupal’—S Sivakumar, CEO, ICT-IBD
Mr. Sivakumar informed about the e-chaupal effort taken up by ITC (Indian Tobacco Company) which places
computers with Internet access in rural farming villages. The case study discussed by Mr. Sivakumar focused on only
one crop i.e. soybean. At first he talked about the e-chaupal infrastructure. He said that ITC make investments to
create and maintain its own IT network in rural India and to identify and train local farmers to manage each e-chaupal.
Each ICT kiosk having an access to Internet is run by a sanchalak—a trained farmer. The computer housed in a
farmer’s house is linked to the Internet via phone lines or by a VSAT connection and serves an average of 600 farmers
in 10 surrounding villages within about a 5 km radius. The sanchalak bears some operating cost but in return gets
commissions for the e-transactions done thru his e-choupal. The warehouse hub is managed by the middle men called
samyojaks. The samjojak acts as a local commission agent for ITC. His/ her location is within tractorable distance from
the farmer’s crop field.
The e-choupal services include relevant and real time information about commodity value and local weather news. The
customized knowledge which is available can help in effective farm management and risk management. A supply chain
for farm inputs could now be created which can be screened for quality. Prices offered are competitive and thus can
help farmers as well ITC. Because of the direct marketing channel, transaction costs have come down and one gets
better value due to traceability.
Due to the e-choupal services, farmers have faced a rise in their income levels because of rise in yields, improvement
in quality of output and a fall in transaction costs. Even small farmers have gained too. Customised knowledge is
offered to the farmers despite heterogeneity. Farmers can get real time information despite their physical distance from
The e-choupal model is quite different from the other models. In fact, the farmers do not pay for the information and
knowledge they get from e-choupals. Transactions take place at the will of farmers. The e-chaupal model runs without
any subsidy. There is no government money involved in this project. The latent value is extracted from unevolved
market in emerging economies which means there is elimination of non-value adding activities at the first instance.
There is, in fact, creation of new value through traceability.
While discussing about the running of the e-choupals he said that the network orchestration is done through public-
private partnership. The objective is to deliver the benefits of a near perfect market to the disadvantaged, in an
otherwise incomplete market. The usage of ICT has helped in breaking the vicious circle of low risk taking ability, low
income and low investment of the small farmers. Competition is enhanced through partnership.
Speaking on the issue of scaling up, he said that in the e-chaupal project a flexible business model is followed to suit
the varying dynamics of different goods and changing condition of evolving markets. He informed that the four steps
which are required for scaling up: (a) elimination of non-value adding act; (b) differentiating product through identity
preservation; (c) value added products traceable to farm practices; (d) e-market place and support services to future
He also explained about the potentials of ICT. He said that ICT can create better supply chain by reducing transactions
cost and improving quality. ICT can help to access the underserved small market. ICT has created new IT enabled
business services in the area of health, education, entertainment and e-governance. The ICT infrastructure can be
used for reliable delivery mechanism for resource development.
He informed that there are 3500 e-chaupals working in 5 states of India of covering about 21,000 villages. Madhya
Pradesh has the largest network of e-chaupals. e-chaupals are mostly used for marketing and sourcing a range of
agricultural goods. In the year 2003-04, the transactions which took place via e-chaupals amounted to about US $100
ITC expects 20,000 chaupals in 15 states covering 100,000 villages by 2010, servicing 25 million farmers. ITC expects
that transactions through e-chaupals may rise to about US $ 2.5 billion.
While speaking on the financial viability of the e-chaupals, Mr. Sivakumar said that the wave 1 has been proven to be
successful. Waves 2 and 3 are beyond pilot projects. Wave 4 is ready for pilot. He informed that waves 5 to 7 (rural
marketing) tests were successful. The scaling up of the projects and the amount of transactions was in line with the
plan. During the project, there has been capacity building of people and processes (to deal with scale) as per the
While commenting on the key success factors he said that in the past insights were gained about the agricultural value
chain in India. The value addition of IT in the distribution business was also looked into. At present, managerial
competence of ICT is used to execute the complex model and to manage cost. In the future, emphasis will be given on
experimentation and learning culture. The bottom line will be---roll out, fix it, scale it up. The principle of the e-chaupals
will be to inform, empower and compete.
The major challenges while scaling up are:
(a) Developing entrepreneurial capacity of sanchalaks and sanvahaks
(b) There is need for a management capacity of ICT frontline by building a new cadre of agricultural
(c) There is a strong need for infrastructure such as power and broadband
(d) There is the requirement for policy reforms which includes laying out and passing the designs of
the Agricultural Marketing Act (to be able to buy directly from the farmers) and to moderate taxes
for a level playing field and for revenue build up.
The specific suggestions made by Mr. Sivakumar are:
Type I: Offset the cost of inefficient infrastructure
Type II: Subsidise cost of replication experiments
Type III: Support scale-up of successful models
Type IV: Subsidise services to the poorest.
‘Bhoomi Project’--- Mr. B.P. Kaniram, Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore (Rural) on behalf of Rajiv Chawla
(Secretary, e-Governance, Govt. of Karnataka)
Mr. Dhaniram informed that the Bhoomi project is taking place in Karnataka and there are 35 million beneficiaries of
which 7 million are farmers. 20 million land records have been gathered through this project. It has been found that 0.6
hectare is the average size of land holding in Karnataka. There are 177 project locations, from where Bhoomi project is
carried out. These project locations serve 27,000 villages. There is online maintenance of land titles.
Bhoomi project is about agricultural land record reforms. Moreover, it is a farmer friendly mechanism. The presence of
data on land records can help in stopping encroachment of land by powerful landholding people. Bhoomi has become
an instrument of social justice in two respects:
(a) Poor records lead to litigation and social unrest. With the beginning of Bhoomi, this has stopped.
(b) Bhoomi can indirectly help in good governance.
(c) Bhoomi can also help in economic growth as now it is difficult to evict somebody from his or her own land.
The earlier manual system had infirmities since it was an opaque type of system where patwaris used to have the
monopoly of keeping land records. So there used to be manipulation of records. Farmers used to get discriminatory
type of behaviour from the patwaris and the powerful people under the manual system. This has reduced now. Scope
of harassment has come down. Manual system was ill suited for the civic needs. Seldom land records were updated.
Even getting the desired information was a difficult task earlier.
Mr. Dhaniram informed that under the Bhoomi project, 10,000 plus officials were employed for data entry after they
were trained properly. It took 20,000 man-months for accomplishing the data entry.
Under the Bhoomi, transparency has led to ensuring social equity. Gone are days of village accountants. People now
the right to information. The Bhoomi project is run by multiple stakeholders i.e. citizens, government, administration
and other stakeholders like bank and judiciary.
There are certain problems associated with Bhoomi:
(a) There are only 177 distribution points as against 10,000 delivery points in manual system serving 30,000
(b) Farmers have to travel an average distance of 25 kilometers.
There is need for private participation since government does not have the capacity to open and operate village kiosks.
The Bhoomi project, however, plans to increase the number of kiosks so that kiosks can become the delivery channels.
‘Drishtee- connecting India village by village’---Mr. S. Mishra, CEO Drishtee
Drishtee is working for the development of rural economy and society through the use of ICTs. Drishtee is providing
services in the field of computer education, commercial services, BPO and Photo studio and other services like rural
employment, e-health etc.
Mr. S Mishra said that Govt. is the enabler in the case of Drishtee project. Most of the earnings is non-network
dependent. He informed that kiosks are sustainable. Drishtee is planning to open another 6000 kiosks. He said that
entrepreneurship is the key behind success of the Drishtee project. Although the entrepreneurs has to partner with the
government, but they have to keep a safe distance. One has to categorize kiosks operators into various segments. He
said that Drishtee should focus on service development. He said that true entrepreneurs may not be those who have
money or who come forward initially. Then, it becomes important to identify entrepreneurs.
Drishtee has moved from model prescribed by the government to a model which is more participatory by including
health dept., education dept. etc. The service development process, according to Mr. S Mishra, looks into the certain
broad questions such as: What to sell? Where to sell? How to sell? Whom to sell? The partnering agencies in the
Drishtee are: RCSM, ICICI and DRDA? He said that in a typical village consisting of 1000 members, where 25% of
families do not have the ability to pay, the target market consists of 750 members. He informed that due to vertical
penetration, there has been growth in the number of kiosks under the Drishtee project.
‘n-Logue’---Mr. Gautam Mukherjee, Sr VP
Mr. Gautam Mukherjee of n-Logue said that the N-logue project is using the least cost technology. The aim of the
project is to develop all necessary support devices. Efforts have been made to develop robust, profitable and
sustainable business models. About 150 towns have been targeted for the growth of kiosks under the N-logue project.
About 1024 installations have been made by the end of January 2003. N-logue’s effort has been to prepare a business
model which is technology based and cost the least. corDECT technology which is prepared by the TeNet Group of IIT,
Chennai is used in the current project. The company goes to the local service provider which in turn goes to the help of
village kiosk operator during the n-Logue operation.
The business model of n-Logue emulates the success of the public call operators (PCOs). In every village that n-Logue
ventures into, it identifies an entrepreneur and help him/ her set up a kiosk equipped with a PC with multimedia and
web camera, a corDECT Wall set and accessories to connect to the Internet, printer, an uninterrupted power supply
and a suite of local language applications among others.
Essential Difference between call centres and kiosks (compiled by the author of the present article)
Call Centres Kiosks
1. Call centres mainly cater to the demands of the urban 1. Kiosks are mainly situated in rural areas and thus
population and are situated in urban areas cater to the demands of the rural populations such as
2. The work culture is mainly Westernised (can be said 2. The work culture is mainly Indian, and work is
also as Americanised), and is open 24X7. limited to only day time mainly.
3. Only the English speaking and urbane youths are 3. The kiosks can be run by ordinary rural youths,
mainly engaged in call centres. Women are mainly middle aged males (mainly). However, females are
engaged for their better interaction capability with the also engaged, as in the case of Kerala’s Akshaya
(global) customers. programme.
4. Call centres which fall within the category of ITeS (IT 4. Kiosks cater to a lot of services such as: (i)
enabled services) cover a whole range of services, some provision of e-services such as registration of birth
of which are: (i) Customer-interaction services including and deaths; (ii) e-training; (iii) Information on prices of
call-centres; (ii) Back-offices, revenue accounting, data commodities (as being provided by
entry, data conversion and HR services; (iii) Transcription www.agriwatch.com) et al.
and translation services; (iv) Content development and
animation; (v) Other services, including remote education,
data search, GIS, market research, and network
5. The organisation structure of call centres is very 5. The organization structure of kiosks is simple and
complex and usually employs a large number of IT usually employs a lower number of IT workers.
Note: There are many more differences but they are case specific (such as the case of telematics). One should also
be aware about the case of NCDEX operating in India as a hub for forward market in commodities.
Preamble of the Kerala IT Policy
IT Industry Policy tries to delineate a strategy for harnessing the opportunities and the resources offered by Information
Technology for the comprehensive social and economic development of the State. The strategy has been conceived
keeping in view the fact that Information Technology constitutes the primary instrument for facilitating Kerala’s
emergence as a leading knowledge society in the region. The blueprint for IT development has been formulated
in the context of emerging developmental trends and imperatives that are relevant to the growth strategy of
The growth of Kerala in coming years will be increasingly driven by the knowledge and service-based sectors, where
ease of information transactions will be a key determinant of success. Recent trends in the convergence of
technologies have thrown up new opportunities and new services for the State, such as IT enabled services, e-
commerce and multimedia.
Kerala has a large traditional agricultural and industrial sector; and the infusion of IT into these domains would be
essential for its survival and growth in the face of imminent international competition.
IT has opened out new channels for service delivery in areas such as e-Governance, education, e-health and
information dissemination. IT can serve as the platform for widening the reach of the advances made by the State in
domains like health, education, and participative local governance.
Kerala offers fertile ground for the effective utilization of these new technologies; on account of its densely networked
communities which possess high awareness and literacy levels, its superior telecom connectivity, and its propensity for
quick technology absorption.
IT offers exciting possibilities for radically enlarging and improving human resource skills. Kerala’s core competence is
its near universal literacy and awareness levels, and this can be transformed into economically rewarding and
employable skills by deploying the tools offered by IT.
The primary impetus for growth in IT has to come from private enterprise and community energies. The I.T policy
accordingly envisages the role of Government as being primarily that of a facilitator for creating an enabling
environment where the energies of the private sector and of civil society can be most effectively deployed. The
objective of the Government is to put in place a package of policy measures and incentives, which will make
Kerala one of the most attractive investment destinations in IT.
v This report is field based, and thereby is heavily dependent on first person interviews. For evaluating and monitoring
a programme, one should rely on indicators.
Accessed from: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/
Key indicators of the telecommunication/ICT sector
The third World Telecommunication/ICT indicators meeting (Geneva, January 2003) v adopted the
following key indicators. In addition to a concise definition, examples with actual data are provided to
facilitate understanding. The primary source for the examples comes from an annual report issued by the
UK Office of Telecommunications (OFTEL). Examples from other countries are used in cases where the
indicator is not relevant to the UK situation or where a better example exists. The sources for the examples
are shown in the references at the end of this document.
Please address any questions or comments to email@example.com.
ITU Indicator Definition Example
1 112 Main telephone lines in A main line is a telephone line connecting the subscriber's 35'701’000
operation terminal equipment to the public switched network and which has [OFTEL p. 18 Table
a dedicated port in the telephone exchange equipment. This term 2]
is synonymous with the term main station or Direct Exchange
Line (DEL) that are commonly used in telecommunication
documents. It may not be the same as an access line or a
subscriber. Some countries include the number of ISDN channels;
if so, this should be specified in a note.
2 117 Total capacity of local The total capacity of public switching exchanges corresponds to 47’400’000
public switching exchanges the maximum number of main lines that can be connected. This [India, 3/2002]
number includes, therefore, main lines already connected and
main lines available for future connection, including those used
for the technical operation of the exchange (test numbers). The
measure should be the actual capacity of the system rather than
the theoretical potential when the system is upgraded or if
compression technology is employed.
3 1142 Percent of main lines This percentage is obtained by dividing the number of main lines 100.0v
connected to digital connected to digital telephone exchanges by the total number of
exchanges main lines. This indicator does not measure the percentage of
exchanges which are digital, the percentage of inter-exchange
lines which are digital or the percentage of digital network
termination points. Respondents should indicate whether the main
lines included in the definition represent only those in operation
or the total capacity.
4 116 Percent of main lines which This percentage is obtained by dividing the number of main lines 69.8
are residential serving households (i.e., lines which are not used for business, [OFTEL, p. 31,
government or other professional purposes or as public telephone Table 12]
stations) by the total number of main lines. Respondents should
indicate the definition of households that is being applied.
5 1162 Percent of main lines in This percentage is obtained by dividing the number of main lines 75.5
urban areas in urban areas by the total number of main lines in the country. [India, 3/2002]
The definition of urban used by the country should be supplied.
6 1163 Number of localities with Localities are cities, towns and villages in a country. This 503’118
telephone service indicator reflects the number of localities that have telephone [BSNL, India,
service. To enhance usefulness, the total number of localities 11/2002]v
should be provided as well as the population of localities covered
by telephone service.
7 1112 Public payphones Total number of all types of public telephones, including coin and 146'300
card operated and public telephones in call offices. Public phones [OFTEL p. 46, Table
installed in private places should also be included, as should 25]
mobile public telephones. All public telephones regardless of
capability (e.g., local calls or national only) should be counted.
Where the national definition of "payphone" differs from that
above (e.g., by excluding pay phones in private places) then
respondents should indicate their own definition.
8 271 Cellular mobile telephone Refers to users of portable telephones subscribing to an automatic 46'283'000 [OFTEL,
subscribers public mobile telephone service that provides access to the Public p. 56, Table 35]
Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) using cellular technology.
This can include analogue and digital cellular systems but should
not include non-cellular systems. Subscribers to public mobile
data services or radio paging services should not be included. If
this service has a name, please indicate in a note as well as the
year the service commenced operation.
8.1 271p Cellular mobile subscribers: Total number of mobile cellular subscribers using prepaid cards. 31'992'000 [OFTEL,
prepaid These are subscribers that rather than paying a fixed monthly p. 56, Table 35]
subscription fee, choose to purchase blocks of usage time. Only
prepaid subscribers that have used the system within a reasonable
period of time should be included. This period (e.g., 3 months)
should be indicated in a note.
9 2712 Digital cellular mobile Total number of subscribers to digital cellular systems (e.g., 125'282'489 [CTIA,
subscribers GSM, D/AMPS (TDMA), CDMA). US, 2002]
10 271m Mobile Internet subscribers Due to the recent introduction of this service, this indicator is 64’200 GPRS
being developed. Comments are welcome. Possibilities include to subscriptions
measure the number of subscribers actively using a mobile [Sweden, June 2002]
browser (e.g., Wireless Access Protocol, WAP) or to measure the
number of users subscribing to a high-speed mobile data service
(e.g., General Packet Radio Service (GPRS).
11.1 271land Percent coverage of mobile Mobile cellular coverage of the land area in percent. This is 86
cellular network (land area) calculated by dividing the land area covered by a mobile cellular [02, UK, 2003]
signal by the total land area.
11.2 271pop Percent coverage of mobile Mobile cellular coverage of population in percent. Note that this 99
cellular network is not the same as the mobile subscription density or penetration. [02 UK, 2003]
(population) The mobile population coverage measures the percentage of
inhabitants that are within range of a mobile cellular signal
whether or not they are subscribers. This is calculated by dividing
the number of inhabitants within range of a mobile cellular signal
by the total population.
12 311 Telex subscriber lines A telex subscriber line is a line connecting the subscriber's 1’757
terminal equipment to the public telex network and which has a [OFTA, Hong Kong
dedicated port in the telex exchange equipment. China 12/2002]
13 412 Private leased circuits Refer to a two-way link for the exclusive use of a subscriber 441'000
regardless of the way it is used by the subscriber (e.g., switched [OFTEL p. 43, Table
subscriber or non-switched, or voice or data). Private circuits also 22 & p. 45, Table
referred to as leased lines, can be either national or international 24]
in scope. In reporting this indicator, only the number of lines
should be included, not the number of network termination points.
14 413 Total subscribers to public The number of subscribers to public data networks such as X.25: 21’041
data networks packet-switched networks, circuit-switched networks and dial-up Frame relay: 15’329
data networks. Countries should specify in a note which networks [Portugal, 2002]
they are including.
15 4213 Internet subscribers The number of Internet subscribers including dial-up, leased and 2'849'000
broadband. A distinction should be made between paying and free [Sweden, 2001]
subscribers in countries where there are no Internet access
subscription charges. It would also be useful to list only active
15.1 4213cab Cable modem Internet Internet subscribers using modems attached to cable television 115'500 [Sweden,
subscribers networks. Speed should be greater than 128kbps in at least one 2001]
15.2 4213dsl DSL Internet subscribers Internet subscribers using Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) 242'100 [Sweden,
technology. Speed should be greater than 128kbps in at least one 2001]
16 4212 Internet users The number of Internet users. A growing number of countries are 22'300'000
measuring this through regular surveys. Surveys usually indicate [STAT, UK,
a percentage of the population for a certain age group (e.g., 15-74 10/2002]v
years old). The total number of Internet users in this age group
should be supplied and not the percentage of Internet users in this
age group multiplied by the entire population. In situations where
surveys are not available, an estimate can be derived based on the
number of subscribers. The methodology used should be supplied,
including reference to the frequency of use (e.g., in the last
16.1 4212f Percent female Internet Share of females in the total number of Internet users. This is 48.6
users calculated by dividing the number of female Internet users by the [STAT, UK,
total number of Internet users. 10/2002]
16.2 4212f%f Female Internet users as Share of female Internet users in the total number of females. This 58
percent of female population is calculated by dividing the number of female Internet users by [STAT UK,
the total number of females. 10/2002]
17 423 Public Internet access The number of facilities providing Internet access to the public. 281
facilities These can be Internet cafes and public facilities such as [Tunisia, 1/2003]
telecentres or libraries. Schools should not be included unless the
general public can also use the facilities. v
18 424 PWLAN locations The number of Public Wireless Local Area Network locations 3’700
(i.e., hotspots). PWLANs are based on the IEEE 802.1b standard, [INTEL US, 3/2002]
commonly referred to as WiFi.
19 28 ISDN subscribers The number of subscribers to the Integrated Services Digital 995'000
Network (ISDN). This can be separated by basic rate interface [OFTEL p. 25, Table
service (i.e., 2B+D, ITU-T Rec. I.420) and primary rate. 7a]v
19.1 281 Basic rate ISDN subscribers The number of subscribers to the basic rate interface service. 911'000 [OFTEL p.
25, Table 7a]
19.2 282 Primary rate ISDN The number of subscribers to the primary rate interface service. 85'000 [OFTEL p.
subscribers 25, Table 7a]
Quality of service
20 123 Waiting list for main lines Un-met applications for connection to the Public Switched
Telephone Network (PSTN) that have had to be held over owing
to a lack of technical facilities (equipment, lines, etc.). It should
be specified what is the normal period for responding to requests
for a new line (for instance, no more than two weeks from the
date of the request). If necessary, use the data of the largest
operator measured by number of main lines.
21 143 Faults per 100 main lines The total number of reported faults to main telephone lines for the 35.8
per year year. Countries should specify whether faults due to faulty [CTC, Chile 2002]
terminal equipment on the customer’s premises are included in
the indicator or not. Faults, which are not the direct responsibility
of the public telecommunications operator, should probably be
excluded. This is calculated by dividing the total number of
reported telephone faults for the year by the total number of main
lines in operation and multiplying by 100. If necessary, use the
data of the largest operator measured by number of main lines.
22 141 Percent of telephone faults Percentage of PSTN faults reported that have been corrected by 60.14
cleared by next working day the end of the next working day. (i.e., not including non-working [CTC, Chile, 2002]
days (e.g., weekends, holidays)). If necessary, use the data of the
largest operator measured by number of main lines.
23 1311m Local telephone traffic Local telephone traffic consists of effective (completed) fixed 74'953'000'000
(minutes) telephone line traffic exchanged within the local charging area in [OFTEL, p. 23,
which the calling station is situated. This is the area within which Table 5a]
one subscriber can call another on payment of the local charge (if
applicable). This indicator should be reported in the number of
minutes. If the indicator is reported in calls or meter units
(pulses), then an appropriate conversion figure to minutes of
traffic should be supplied.
23.1 1313wm Fixed to mobile traffic Total incoming minutes to mobile cellular subscribers from fixed 13'579'000'000
(minutes) network. [OFTEL, p. 23,
24 1312m National trunk telephone National trunk (toll) traffic consists of effective (completed) fixed 54'476'000'000
traffic (minutes) national telephone traffic exchanged with a station outside the [OFTEL, p. 23,
local charging area of the calling station. The indicator should be Table 5a]
reported as the number of minutes of traffic.
25.1 132m International outgoing This covers the effective (completed) traffic originating in a given 7'935'000'000
telephone traffic (minutes) country to destinations outside that country. The indicator should [OFTEL, p. 23,
be reported in number of minutes of traffic. Table 5a]
25.2 132mi International incoming Effective (completed) traffic originating outside the country with 7'574'400'000
telephone traffic (minutes) a destination inside the country. The indicator should be reported [OFTEL, p. 47]
in number of minutes of traffic.
26.1 1311im Dial-up Internet traffic The total volume in minutes of dial-up sessions over the public 137'969'000'000
(minutes) switched telephone network to access the Internet. [OFTEL, p. 23,
27 133wm Outgoing mobile minutes Total number of minutes made by mobile subscribers (including 46'292'000'000
minutes to fixed and minutes to other mobile subscribers). [OFTEL, p. 55,
27.3 133sms SMS Number of mobile Short Message Service (SMS) sent. 13'201'000'000
[OFTEL, p.55, Table
28 22 International outgoing The number of charged outgoing full rate telegrams originating in 11,000 [OFTA,
telegrams a given country with a destination outside the country. Should be Hong Kong, China,
measured as the number of telegrams rather than the number of 2002]
29 4214 International Internet Total capacity of international Internet bandwidth in Mega Bits 1209.875 Mbps
Bandwidth (Mbps) Per Second (Mbps). If capacity is asymmetric (i.e., more outgoing [NECTEC Thailand,
that incoming or more incoming that outgoing), provide the 3/2003]
30 Public data traffic (non- Traffic from public data services such as X.25 and frame-relay Packet-switched:
Internet) (but excluding Internet) measured in megabytes per second 170’173’298
(Mbytes). [Portugal, 2002]
Because most countries now have some form of competition in at least one market segment, there may not be a standard
tariff. In addition, tariffs within services may not be uniform (e.g., telephone subscription charges may vary across the nation).
The following guidelines may be useful. It is preferable to use the tariffs of the operator with the largest market share
(measured by subscribers or minutes). It is preferable to use the tariffs that the majority of consumers pay (e.g., if most of the
customers are in urban areas, use urban tariffs). It is preferable to include taxes and provide a note specifying whether taxes
are included and what the rate is. It is preferable to use the same operator each year to enhance chronological comparability.
It is preferable to report tariffs in national currency. If this is not the case, it should be specified in a note.
31.1 151 Connection fee for Installation refers to the one-off charge involved in applying for Rf 1,720 [Maldives]
residential telephone service basic telephone service. Where there are different charges for
different exchange areas, the charge for the largest urban area
should be used and specified in a note. Where there are different
installation charges for residential and business consumers or for
first and subsequent lines, these should be stated separately.
31.2 152 Monthly subscription for Monthly subscription refers to the recurring fixed charge for Rf 30 [Maldives]
residential telephone service subscribing to the PSTN. The charge should cover the rental of
the line but not the rental of the terminal (e.g., telephone set)
where the terminal equipment market is liberalized. Separate
charges should be stated where appropriate, for residential and
business subscribers or for first and subsequent lines. If the rental
charge includes any allowance for free or reduced rate call units,
this should be indicated. If there are different charges for different
exchange areas, the largest urban area should be used and
specified in a note.
31.3 153 Price of a 3-minute fixed Local call refers to the cost of a peak rate 3-minute call within the 0.75 [Maldives]
telephone local call (peak same exchange area using the subscriber's own terminal (i.e., not
rate) from a public telephone).
31.4 153o Price of a 3-minute fixed Local call refers to the cost of an off-peak rate 3-minute call 0.75 [Maldives]
telephone local call (off- within the same exchange area using the subscriber's own
peak rate) terminal (i.e., not from a public telephone).
32 National call prices This is the cost of a 3-minute direct dialed (i.e., without operator v
intervention) call within the country but outside the local
exchange area. The rate should be supplied for peak rate time
calls and off-peak (discount) rate calls (if applicable). The cost
should be reported in national currency, with a statement on what
taxes are applied.
33 International call prices This is the cost of a 3-minute direct dialed (i.e., without operator
intervention) call from a destination within the country to a
destination outside the country. The rate should be supplied for
peak rate time calls and off-peak (discount) rate calls (if
applicable). The cost should be reported in national currency,
with a statement on what taxes are applied.
34.1 151c Mobile cellular connection The initial, one-time charge for a new subscription. Refundable 500 [Maldives]
charge deposits should not be counted. Although some operators waive
the connection charge, this does not include the cost of the
Subscriber Identify Module (SIM) card. The price of the SIM
card should be included in the connection charge. It is preferable
to use the connection charge for pre-paid service to enhance inter-
country comparability. A note should indicate whether taxes are
included (preferred) or not.
34.2 152c Mobile cellular monthly The monthly subscription charge for mobile cellular service. Due 0 [Maldives]
subscription to the variety of plans available in many countries, it is preferable
to use pre-paid tariffs. In that case, the monthly subscription
charge would be zero. However in some countries, a monthly air
time charge is applied even for pre-paid service. If so, that
amount should be used. A note should indicate whether taxes are
included (preferred) or not. The note should also specify the
amount of free monthly minutes included if applicable.
34.3 153c Mobile cellular - price of 3 The price of a three minute peak rate local call from a mobile 10.50 [Maldives]
minute local call (peak) cellular telephone. If operators charge different prices depending
on who is being called (e.g., same mobile network, fixed network,
another mobile network) these should be listed separately. In
order to enhance inter-country comparability it is preferable to
use pre-paid tariffs. A note should indicate whether taxes are
included (preferred) or not.
34.4 153co Mobile cellular - price of 3 The price of a three minute off-peak rate local call from a mobile 10.50 [Maldives]
minute local call (off-peak) cellular telephone. If operators charge different prices depending
on who is being called (e.g., same mobile network, fixed network,
another mobile network) these should be listed separately. In
order to enhance inter-country comparability it is preferable to
use pre-paid tariffs. A note should indicate whether taxes are
included (preferred) or not.
34.5 153sms Mobile cellular – price of Price of sending a national Short Message Service (SMS) Rf 1 [Maldives]
SMS message from a mobile handset.
35 Leased line charges Connection charge and monthly rental charge. Costs
should be specified for different speeds (e.g., 2.4, 4.8, 9.6,
19.2, 56/64 kbit/s and 1.5/2.0 Mbit/s) and different distances
36 Data communication Connection, monthly rental charge and call set-up charges for
charges packet-switched data communication.
37 Internet charges Connection, monthly rental and usage charges for Internet access Dial-up:
service. This should be provided for both dial-up and broadband Connection: 0
service (e.g., DSL and/or cable modem service). If additional Monthly rental: 330
charges are payable for telephone usage for dial-up use, this and Free hours: 15
the amount should be specified in a note. A note should indicate Peak minute: 0.55
whether the subscription includes free hours and/or is flat-rate. Off peak minute:
38 51 Full-time Full-time staff employed by telecommunication network 259’000
telecommunication staff operators in the country for the provision of public [UK, 2001]
telecommunication services. Part-time staff should be expressed
in terms of full-time staff equivalents. As far as possible, staff not
working principally for the provision of telecommunications
services (e.g., those working in postal services or broadcast
operations) should be excluded.
38.1 51f Female telecommunication The number of full time telecommunication staff that are female. 53'300 [UK]v
38.2 51w Mobile communications Total number of staff employed by mobile cellular network 192’000
staff operator. This refers to mobile operators building infrastructure [CTIA, US, 2002]
and not staff employed by resellers.
39 75 Total revenue from all This is the total telecommunication revenue earned. This should 48'580'000'000 [UK,
telecom services exclude revenues from non-telecommunications services. 2001]
Revenue (turnover) consists of telecommunication service
earnings during the financial year under review. Revenue should
not include monies received in respect of revenue earned during
previous financial years, neither does it include monies received
by way of loans from governments, or external investors, nor
monies received from repayable subscribers' contributions or
40 71 Revenue from telephone Revenue received from fixed telephone connection, subscription 13'139'000'000
service and calls. [OFTEL, p. 18,
40.1 711 Income from telephone Revenue received for connection (installation) of telephone 228’000’000
connection charges service. This may include charges for transfer or cessation of [OFTEL, p. 18,
service. Table 1]
40.2 712 Income from telephone Revenues from recurring charges for subscription to the PSTN 4’050’000’000
subscription charges including equipment rentals where relevant. [OFTEL, p. 18,
40.3 7131 Income from local calls Revenue from local calls. 1’669’000’000
[OFTEL, p. 18,
40.4 7132 Income from national long Revenue from national long distance calls. 1’514’000’000
distance calls [OFTEL, p. 18,
40.5 7133 Income from international This should include charges received from subscribers for placing 1’122’000’000
calls outgoing calls, after deduction of the share of this income to be [OFTEL, p. 18,
paid to other organizations for outgoing telecommunication traffic Table 1]
(operators of the incoming and possibility transit countries) and
after inclusion of income received from foreign telephone
operators for completing calls originating in a foreign country.
Payments from and to foreign telecommunication operators
should be listed separately.
41 731 Revenue from data Revenues from data services such as data communications (e.g., 3’825’000’000
transmission packet switching) and Internet access but not telegram or telex. [Denmark, 2001]
42 732 Revenue from leased Revenue from the provision of leased lines (circuits). 1’645’000’000
circuits [Denmark, 2001]
43 741 Revenue from mobile Revenues from the provision of all types of mobile 8’628’000’000
communications communications services such cellular, private trunked radio and [Denmark, 2001]
44 74 Other revenue Any other revenues not accounted for elsewhere for the provision 7’708’000’000
of public telecommunication services. Responders should indicate [Denmark, 2001]
in a note what are the main sources or "other"
45 Value-added from Represents the revenue generated by telecommunication service 21'061’000’000
telecommunications sector out of which is paid wages and salaries, the cost of capital [UK, 2001]v
investment and financial charges, before arriving at a figure for
46 81 Annual investment in The annual investment for acquiring property and plant. The term 203’500’000 [CTC,
telecom investment means the expenditure associated with acquiring the Chile, 2002]
ownership of property (including intellectual and non-tangible
property such as computer software) and plant. These include
expenditure on initial installations and on additions to existing
installations where the usage is expected to be over an extended
period of time. Also referred to as capital expenditure.
46.1 83 Telephone service Annual investment on equipment for fixed telephone service. 35’800’000 [CTC,
investment Chile, 2002]
46.2 841m Mobile communication Capital investment on equipment for mobile communication 71’100’0000 [CTC,
investment networks. Chile, 2002]
[BSNL] Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (India). See http://www.bsnl.co.in/vptstatus(monthly).htm
[Chile] CTC. Annual Report. 2002. See http://www.ctc.cl/investors/memoria/index.html
[CTIA]. CTIA (US). http://www.wow-com.com/industry/stats/surveys
[Denmark]. National IT and Telecom Agency (Denmark). Tele Yearbook 2001.
[OFTA] Office of Telecommunication Authority (Hong Kong, China). www.ofta.gov.hk
[OFTEL] Office of Telecommunications (UK). The UK Telecommunications Industry Market Information
2001/02. March 2003. Available at http://www.oftel.gov.uk/publications/market_info/2003/ami0303.pdf
[Portugal] Anacom. Data transmission/ Internet Services. http://www.icp.pt/template12.jsp?categoryId=7525
[STAT] UK National Statistics agency. See http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/inta1202.pdf
[Sweden] PTA. The Swedish telecommunication market 2001, available at:
Comments: For the purpose of evaluation and monitoring of ICT related programmes (and even for those which are
aiming at e-literacy for the girl trainees), one must use the following indicators:
(i) Sex Ratio of both trainers and trainees at the kiosks.
(ii) Teacher to students ratio
(iii) No. of hours devoted per week for computer learning (for both boys and girls).
(iv) No. of hours devoted by students / trainees on various computer related activities such as writing,
surfing contents available on the Internet (of various types), games etc.
(v) Tests (online or offline) can be taken to assess the quality of training imparted as well as to know how
much the trainees have learnt (NEED FOR DEVELOPING SUCH SOFTWARES).
(vi) Psychometric tests can be performed on the students
(vii) Power supply (including battery backup)
(viii) Language of the content which can be comfortable for the learners and users
viEmployment generation is particularly important given the high unemployment rate in Kerala (particularly of females)
compared to the other states in India (see the following table)
Unemployment Rates by States and Union Territories, 1999-2000
States Rural Urban
Male Female Male Female
Andhra Pradesh 1.2 0.7 4.2 4.2
Bihar 2.4 0.6 7.6 9.4
Gujarat 0.8 0.3 2.1 2.6
Haryana 1.3 0.5 2.7 4.6
Karnataka 1.0 0.3 3.0 4.7
Kerala 7.6 19.7 6.9 26.4
Madhya Pradesh 0.7 0.2 4.3 1.6
Maharastra 2.4 1.1 6.1 7.8
Orissa 3.1 1.6 7.2 6.7
Punjab 2.3 6.2 3.1 3.5
Rajasthan 0.8 0.2 2.7 3.7
Tamil Nadu 3.0 1.2 3.9 5.8
Uttar Pradesh 1.3 0.6 4.5 4.6
West Bengal 3.4 3.8 7.7 11.1
All India 2.1 1.5 4.8 7.1
Note: Figures relate to usual status of individuals. The figures represent size of unemployment as percent of
Source: Manpower Profile India Year Book, 2002. (National Sample Survey Organisation, Employment and
Unemployment in India, 1999-2000, 55th Round, Report No. 458).