National News: April 2009

DIT to Soon Make Software That can Read All Indian Languages
Jainder Singh, Secretary, Department of Information Technology (DIT) inaugurating a conference on ‘Common Service Centres: The Change Agents’ recently said that by the end of September this year, the Department of Information Technology (DIT) will have readied software tools and fonts which can help personal computers (PCs) and websites decipher content in the country’s 22 languages recognised by the Constitution.

NCDMA Moves Further Towards e-Governance

The National Clean Development Mechanism Authority (NCDMA) in the Ministry of Environment & Forests is taking to IT. Its recently launched a new website which will enable CDM Project Proponents to file applications and upload their project documents directly. With this on-line uploading of project reports paper work of the Authority will be reduced considerably. E-filing will be mandatory with immediate effect.

BJP Takes to SMS For Election Campaigning

The way Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) is planning its election campaign it will have around five crore additional voters on its mailing and SMS lists by the end of the election campaign. The BJP will soon be sending daily updates to mobile subscribers across the country. Over the last few weeks, the BJP alone has added over 20,000 mobile phone users to its list in Mumbai. This number has been increasing by 5,000 each day.

INR 67 Crore Order from BSNL Bagged by Gemini Comm

INR 67 crore order from BSNL for supply, implementation and maintenance of the latter’s rural mobile wimax project has been bagged by Gemini Communication. BSNL’s rural mobile wimax project ensures connectivity through common service centres through the country.

400,000 Jobs to be Generated by CSCs

Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar told reporters after inaugurating a conference on ‘Common Service Centres: The Change Agents’ recently that the government’s CSCs initiative will generate around 400,000 direct employment opportunities and as many as indirect jobs in rural India. He added that the government would set up 100,000 CSCs across the country under the public-private partnership model by year-end.

Agri Clinics For Punjab, Haryana

Setting up of agri clinics in districts of Punjab and Haryana the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).The clinics will test soil, devise techniques for water management and accordingly inform farmers to cultivate agri and horti produce to earn higher yields.

National (corporate)

INR 393cr Order from NIC Bagged by HCL

INR 393 crore order for providing end-to-end IT services and operations management, for a span of seven years, has been bagged by HCL Technologies from National Insurance Company (NIC). In these seven year of engagement, HCL would be responsible for setting up and managing a new enterprise wide IT landscape for NIC.

INR 1182 Cr. Contract from ESIC Bagged by Wipro

Wipro Infotech a unit of the software services firm Wipro Limited has bagged Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) contract worth INR 1182 crore in Banglore. This outsourced contract is spread over a time-period of six and a half years. This project which is called ‘Panchdeep’ was offered on a Built-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) model through a global tender.

IT Companies Looking Towards SMEs for Growth

IT service providers are making the SMEs their key focus area for tapping the growth potential of this market. A report by Access Markets International (AMI) Partners early this year had revealed that the SMEs in the country are likely to spend $9.7 billion on IT this year.

Information Highway for Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh with the adoption of e-Governance project will soon see its government services getting delivered to the common public through Internet, computers etc. About 1 lakh information centres, including about nine thousands two hundreds centres in Madhya Pradesh would be opened in rural areas. Madhya Pradesh state electronics Development Corporation has been deployed as nodal agency for proper implementation of information centres schemes in the state.

Matrubhasha Launched by Lenovo

A vernacular computing initiative ‘Matrubhasha’, has been launched by Lenovo India as a part of its corporate social responsibility. This initiative is meant to enable school children to gain computer proficiency in their mother tongue, without even depending on English. 38 Akshara Foundation libraries in 35 Kannada Government schools and three Urdu Government schools across Bangalore would be the beneficiaries in this program.

YES BANK Introduces RFID in Retail Banking

YES BANK, South Extension Branch, New Delhi, introduces RFID Technology for the First Time in Indian Retail Banking.YES BANK, focused on innovative banking solutions unveiled the first of its kind, ‘Bank Branch of the Future’ at its South Extension Branch in New Delhi. This branch aims to transform retail branches from simple transaction outlets to ‘Service Oriented Advisory Centers’.

Dewang Neralla
Director, Atom Technologies

“Information Technology will revolutionse customized products, as there is certain amount of saturation at urban markets and there is an interest in the rural markets.”


How far has been your product  ‘Atom-Sewa’ been successful in addressing the financial inclusion of the excluded?

We started the Atom Sewa to model we created a technology and focused on the device in-house, we have two elements one is the service provider i.e. business correspondent where we have promoted a Section 21 company called Grameen Pragati Foundation and other side is the technology to render the service. The technology aspect has the device with fingerprint and biometric authentication and we have the card interface as we are providing the villager a card and they could be of multiple formats depending upon connectivity. The telecom revolution will bring connectivity to villages, so the first need is that we begin applications on a device that is currently available with us. We innovated on the atom sewa model Business Correspondent can use his/her mobile to deliver the financial services. as mobile are now ubiquitous and can act as a smart phone available at even INR 3000 and in areas which lack or with limited connectivity we have innovated with the feature with a device that understands fingerprints.

We aim to bridge the digital divide by providing the urban amenities in the rural areas. Mobile telephony can change the rural landscape. The mobile banking and payment services are aspirations of every customer urban or rural, and mobiles and IT will bring down the operational cost and time down. Information Technology will revolutionse customized products, as there is certain amount of saturation at urban markets and there is an interest in the rural markets. We are looking at Maharashtra, UP , Gujarat for Atom Sewa, we are working with MFIs in Rajasthan. MFIs main area of concerns are collections, hence audit trail and micro-finance collection system will be an area of need, mobiles are going to be again an interface for collection trail though innovative technology mediated audit trails.

What are the security aspects that have been undertaken for the m-Payments and m-Banking services?

Security is authentication of customer. They have a card, and we have the photograph verification, followed by fingerprint verification. Technology security for transfer of data is protected as data stored inside the device is all encrypted. The device are mechanical and as back up we have the hard-copy print outs. We have hence developed end-to-end encrypted security systems from transactional security and front-end security model. Cryptographic engines are available on the device that ensures secure applications.

You have addressed the issue of localization of content for your various products and services. In this regard, what is the value addition that you have brought for the customers?

Localisation of content includes pure information or e-Governance  services. Atom has been a major player in offering transaction services. Information in banking systems does not require much of localisation of content, instead it is localisation of voice tags and receipts and is primarily related to information that you are delivering in villages. The localisation in financial services would really mean the localisation of services is in sync with the local needs and requirements of the customers. Localisation of information is the key to the success of the business model. Grameen Suvidha Kendras of MCX we have wedded with them selling seeds and fertilizers as value add services, as one-stop shop and the villager need not go out for these services. We are also offering micro-insurance services in collaboration with LIC We will scale-up this year and create around 1500 touch-points as we need to understand the demographics and local needs very well, but certain needs are omnipresent everyone, hence we need to offer relevant bouquet of services. Hence technology can be localised keeping in mind the customer and its regional, but we also need to understand the regional and local service requirements to make the information services addressing the local needs. 

Have you got any tie ups with any state /central government departments for your services? What are the benefits the government vertical can derive from your products?

We are working with state governments for bringing the service applications across the state. We are working for tie-ups with strong rural presence such as MCX etc. The idea is to create a social entrepreneur at the rural level offering services to the villagers, to offer the financial services as facilitators of the banks to bring in the financial excluded to the financial included security net. The CSCs need to go beyond the PC and have a bouquet of services on the mobiles, as mobile telephony catches up with the customers. We need to realize that rural aspirations are at par with urban aspirations and we would need to get innovative in bringing financial services to the rural landscape.



China Tops Public Sector Enterprise Networking
Equipment Spending in Asia Pacific

A latest research report announced by Springboard Research stated that the Greater China region (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) contributed the largest share at 42.7% to Enterprise Networking spending by the public sector across Asia Pacific (excluding Japan). Springboard’s report, titled “An Opportunity Emerging: Networking in the Public Sector,” saw Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) region as the second largest public sector market, with India as the fastest growing in the region. Springboard estimates the overall market for enterprise networking equipment in the public sector (including government and education) to have reached US$1.1 billion at the end of 2008; with a forecasted growth to US$1.7 billion by 2012, amounting to a compounded annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12%. “A major trend in the region’s public sector vertical is cross-department collaboration; state or local governments are aggressively deploying networking framework to facilitate connectivity with other states and regions,” said Nupur Singh Andley, Senior Research Analyst for Connectivity at Springboard Research. “The focus of networking investments, especially in developing markets like China and India, has shifted to semi-urban and rural pockets where even the most basic network infrastructure is not present,” Ms. Andley added.

According to the findings of a survey of Public Sector IT decision makers featured in the report, over a fifth of respondents claim that their budgets for networking are more than 40% of overall IT budgets. This trend was more prevalent in China over other regions. The survey also revealed that the main factors influencing network purchasing decisions by the respondents were equipment provider’s expertise, technological strength and value for money (in that order). The survey’s respondents rated Cisco as the top enterprise networking player in top-of-mind recall, as well as their existing equipment provider in all the three categories of data networking equipment, voice networking equipment and network security equipment. Other prominent players named by the respondents include HP-Procurve, Avaya, Juniper Networks, Nortel Networks, D-Link, Alcatel-Lucent and Checkpoint.