Financial Sustainability of E-Governance Embedded Rural Telecentres (EGERT) in India
In the recent years, two significant changes have taken place in an effort to address the rural poor: Businesses have started recognizing the potential of rural markets and governments have started using telecentres for providing government-to-citizen G2C services to rural citizens. In India, the national and sub-national governments have supported businesses to establish telecentres in rural areas to provide information technology-enabled services. However, the focus so far has been mostly on B2C services and financial viability of the common service centres (CSCs) is being questioned. We argue conceptually and show through preliminary evidence that designing these telecentres with embedded G2C services would not only enhance sustainability of these centres but also improve theeffectiveness of the delivery of the government services and strengthen their information system. Considering that the poor can benefit substantially from government programmes and services, improvements in the effectiveness of their delivery would invariably foster inclusive growth and help bridge digital divide.
KEY WORDS: E-governance, telecentres, public private partnerships, information and communication technology (ICT).