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    Rural Access to Internet Services

    Group No.- 02

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    Overview

    The RASI project aims at the social, economic and political development of rural

    people by establishing a network of village Internet centers.

    In 2001, the original pilot initiative was launched in Melur, in Madurai district of

    Tamil Nadu in the name of Sustainable Access in Rural India (SARI).

    It was planned to cover all the districts of Tamil Nadu in a phased manner starting

    with 10 districts Madurai, Cuddalore, Coimbatore, Kancheepuram, Theni,Thiruvallur, Erode, Salem, Tirunelveli and Nagapattinam.

    Local entrepreneurs, Dhan Foundationa community-based NGO, local schools,

    and other public sector facilities house the computer facilities.

    ICICI bank and a private agency n-Logue Communications Pvt. Ltd provided core

    financial support to the RASI project.

    In Tamil Nadu, currently, the project covers 155 Village Information Centers run by

    Dhan Foundation and about 100 Centers by n-Logue Communications. 2

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    Objective Use a shared platform to deliver a variety of high quality services, allowing Internet

    access to be financially self sustaining or profitable while reaching the rural poor.

    Help markets to work by networking regions densely and creating a local network

    effect.

    Create and develop new access devices and applications to appropriately serve user

    needs and account for environmental conditions.

    Undertake research on RASIs impact on the existence of rural information and

    communication markets.

    Offer access to schools and health clinics at low or no cost, and help them learn touse it effectively.

    Value local champions and entrepreneurs and encourage their leadership; cooperate

    with residents and existing organizations.

    Not to exacerbate existing divides or power inequities.3

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    Technical Prerequisite

    Software tools utilized-The main software deployed was the Chennai

    Kavigal Shakthi suite of applications. This application was a local

    language (Tamil) equivalent of the Microsoft Office suite. This was

    developed indigenously.

    Technology Model-

    The connectivity technology made use of the indigenously developed

    corDECT wireless in Local Loop developed by the TeNeT group of IIT

    Madras and Midas Communications Private Ltd.

    Category of basic Computing implemented in the Project

    Category of basic Data Communication implemented in the Project.

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    Design Map

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    Revenue Model

    The business model was unique. It had n-Logue Communications tie up

    with a LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR (LSP) to set up an access center in a

    town such as Melur. Subsequently n-Logue would help the LSP run the

    access center and assist in selling connections and establishing village

    kiosks. The connected subscribers would pay the LSP for Internet

    connectivity. N-Logue and the LSP would share in the revenues after

    expenses were deducted.

    The major source of the income for entrepreneur comes from teaching

    computer education to children.

    The other source of income for the entrepreneur is through the services

    which are offering at the reasonable rate ranges from Rs. 40- Rs. 80.

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    Sectors of ICT4D Project

    Primary Sector- This project intends to show that the ICT4D

    objectives could be met using an entrepreneurship model such

    that village kiosks could be financially viable while delivering

    services in Health, Education, Employment and Livelihoods,

    Empowerment, Microfinance.

    Secondary Sector- Presently the project is looking at providing

    financial (rural ATM's), weather prediction, soil analysis,

    drought prediction, distance learning, establishing micro-

    enterprises, robotics and computer programming skills, in thelong term.

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    Services Rendered

    Kiosk

    Mini Arasu

    Education and

    Jobs

    Health

    Services

    Agriculture

    Services

    Entertainment

    Communication

    Services

    Value Web andTravel

    Services

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    Institutions & Stakeholders

    RASI

    Local

    Entrepreneur

    Beneficiaries

    Local NGOsN -Logue

    CommSchools

    Dhan

    Foundation

    ICICI Bank

    IIT,

    Harvard &

    Georgia

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    Digital Divide

    Dimensions-

    Physical Access: Kiosks have been established in all the

    taluks of the state.

    Technical Illiteracy: Customization and Transact

    Information Illiteracy: Diverse set of information's

    provided.

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    Economic Dimension

    Economic status was not found to be a major barrier to the use of

    ICT when the services are offered at lower costs.

    Inadequate training for Government officials to deliver e-

    Government services electronically and the frequent shifting ofthose with technical expertise resulted in short-term sustenance

    of this initiative.

    Lack of internet connectivity in all government offices. lack ofeffective public leadership and sustained commitment; lack of

    proper evaluation and monitoring, especially for services

    that require coordination between different levels.

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    Political Dimension

    Weakening of support from the local bureaucracy due to lack

    of institutionalization and top-down approach to

    e-Government

    The local elected representatives were not found to be

    actively involved in the project.

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    Spatial Dimensions

    Access to kiosks unevenly distributed.

    Limited number of kiosks are working.

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    Social Dimensions

    Lack of motivation among kiosks operators.

    Rural women, younger age groups and the unemployed are

    proactive towards adaptability of information kiosk services.

    35 out of 60 kiosks surveyed are either closed or

    nonfunctional. Also, the profile of users changed over a period

    of time in terms of literacy and nature of employment. As aresult the benefits did not reach the target groups. The initial

    motivation of rural masses to avail of government services

    was diluted over the two years.

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    Cultural Dimensions

    The higher educational groups utilized e-Governance

    services to their benefits, the illiterates and the low

    educational groups have been left behind. This may be a cause

    for concern that it would further widen the digital divide.

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    ICT4D GenerationISSUE/PHASE ICT4D 0.0

    (1960s mid

    1990s)

    ICT4D 1.0 ( Mid 90s

    late 2000s)

    ICT4D 2.0 (mid

    late- 2000

    onwards)

    Iconic Technology PC Database Telecentre Mobile Phones

    Key Application Data Processing Content and

    Interaction

    Services &

    Production

    The Poor Who? Consumers Innovators &

    Producers

    Key Goal Organizational

    Efficiency

    MDGs Growth &

    Development

    Key Issue Technologys

    Potential

    Readiness and

    Availability

    Uptake & Impact

    Key Actor Government Donors & NGOs All Sectors

    Attitude Ignore- Isolate Idolise - Integrate Integrate- Innovate

    Innovation Model Northern Pro Poor- Para Poor Para Poor- Per Poor

    Dominant Discipline Information

    Systems

    IS & DS Tribid of CS, IS

    and DS

    Development Paradigm Modernization Human Development Development 2.016

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    Impact Assessment Framework- Telecentre

    Implementation

    Availability Output Outcome

    DuringImmediately

    after

    Shortly

    after Sometimelater

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    Project Genesis

    Sustainability: To understand the key revenue streams of the kiosks

    and take this knowledge to other kiosks.

    Scalability: The knowledge gained from this pilot have enabled

    n-Logue to set up nearly 30 other access centers establish over 1500connections.

    Economic Sustainability: The model have comfort zone for the

    economic perspective.

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    Summary

    Internet-kiosk based initiatives promises an easy and equal access in hard-

    to-reach areas deprived of basic infrastructure and Internet access.

    Causes for kiosk project failures were not technical issues but are political

    and institutional problems and planning failures.

    An important reason for the deterioration of the e-Government services

    offered by RASI was the continually dwindling support from

    the bureaucracy.

    For Sustainability long-term business planning, strategic management,

    and stakeholder partnership in future kiosk development.

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