Common Services Centers (CSC) Project 

ICT as the Driver for Rural Empowerment

1.      ICT can be a powerful enabler of developmental goals as its use can dramatically improve communication and exchange of information to strengthen and create new economic and social networks.
2.      ICT is pervasive and crosscutting as it can be applied to the full range of human activity from personal use to business and government. ICT is multifunctional and flexible, allowing for tailored solutions to meet diverse needs of the population. ICT facilitates disinter mediation, as it makes it possible for users to acquire products and services directly from the original provider, reducing the need for intermediaries. ICT is also transparent - it does not differentiate on the basis of economic status, religion or castes of its users.
3.      Access to information, backed with relevant infrastructure and services, not only allows rural populace to improve its quality of life but also support and supplement its existing incomes in a sustainable way. Access to information and services like e-Government, micro-credit, literacy, education, health, etc., can provide a solid foundation for the economic prosperity of rural India.
4.      Rural consumers are willing to pay for products and services that meet their needs and are offered at affordable prices. Therefore, what Rural India needs is a new social contract - in which there will be common access infrastructure, provided at commercial prices rather than given for free. 

Common Services Centers (CSC)

1.      Common Services Centers are envisioned as the front-end delivery points for Government, private and social sector services to rural citizens of India. The idea is to develop a platform that can enable Government, private and social sector organizations to integrate their social and commercial goals for the benefit of rural populations in the remotest corners of the country through a combination of IT as well as non-IT services.
2.      The aim of the Scheme is not merely to roll out IT infrastructure but to build a network of 100,000+ rural businesses across India. To that effect, the CSC Scheme has been designed to create a value proposition for all stakeholders and alignment of their economic interests.
3.      The CSC Scheme is envisaged to be a bottom-up model for delivery of content, services, information and knowledge, that can allow like-minded public and private enterprises - through a collaborative framework - to integrate their goals of profit as well as social objectives, into a sustainable business model for achieving rapid socio-economic change in rural India.
4.      But beyond a delivery channel the CSC can play a role of an effective ?change agent? that would provide a structured platform for socially inclusive community participation for collective developmental activities. Such change, it is proposed, would be undertaken through three important components:   

i A Public Private Partnership (PPP) Framework
ii Rural Entrepreneurship and Market Mechanismsiii Government policy and support
5.      An ICT enabled CSC can:

Provide citizen centric services of the State and Central Government in a convenient and efficient manner through the CSCs across rural India.
b)      Enhance the accountability, transparency and responsiveness of the Government to citizen's needs.
c)      Provide efficient and cost effective methods of service delivery to departments and agencies
d)     Allow private and social sector to collaborate with the Government to offer world-class services in rural India
e)      Train village level entrepreneurs in business and IT management skills
f)       Empower the rural citizen through information dissemination and market linkages. 

The Structure of the CSC Scheme

1. The Service Centre Agency (SCA) would be the prime driver of the CSC Scheme and the owner of the CSC business. The CSC structure is envisaged as follows:

Provide citizen centric services of the State and Central Government in a convenient and efficient manner through the CSCs across rural India.
o       At the first level would be the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs). The SCA would manage a network of VLEs who in turn would manage the operational business of the CSC at the village level. The VLEs would report to the SCA.
o       At the second level would be the Service Centre Agency (SCA). The SCA would be responsible for the overall profitability and sustainability of the CSC business.
o       At the third level would be the agency designated by the State- the State Designated Agency (SDA) - to facilitate implementation as well as provide policy guidelines from time-to-time, Government to citizen (G2C) services, and disbursement of financial/revenue support to the SCAs.
o       In addition, the DIT, Govt. of India has appointed a National Level Service Agency (NLSA) to support the SDA as well as the SCAs to enable the CSC business in the State

The State Designated Agency (SDA): The CSC Scheme would be rolled out in the State through the SDA. The SDA would play three major roles as follows:

Facilitator for policy, regulatory and other relevant changes with the State Government
o       Facilitator for enabling e-Government services
o       Enabler for infrastructure and other support to the SCA

The Service Centre Agency (SCA): The SCA would be the prime driver of the CSC eco-system. The SCA would be the owner of the CSC network in pre-defined areas of operations in the State. The SCA would undertake activities such as identifying the required applications and services, harnessing the State network, identifying and training the VLE, establishing the CSC (either directly or through the VLE), supplying, aggregating and updating content and services and so on. The SCA would be supported by the NLSA and the respective State Designated Agency (SDA) to implement the CSC Scheme

The Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE): The VLE is the key to the success of the CSC operations. A good VLE would be the one who has good entrepreneurial skills, strong social commitment as well as respect within the community. The VLE would manage the CSC business at the ground level. Selection and proper training of the VLE would play a vital role in effective implementation of the CSCs.

The National Level Service Agency (NLSA): A project of this scale poses significant challenges of project management at the national level. Significant economies of scale can be achieved in the identification, customization and implementation of the physical and digital infrastructure required for the project. Further, many of the potential citizen-centric services would lend themselves to aggregation at the national level. To enable the State-specific implementation plans to benefit from such economies of scale, aggregation of best practices, content providers, etc., a National Level Service Agency (NLSA) has been appointed by the DIT for facilitating the rollout process in a Public Private Partnership format. 

The Implementation Structure



As part of the national e-governance plan (NeGP) of the Government of India (GOI), a State Wide area Network (SWAN) is in the process of being established to provide reliable broadband connectivity across the state up to the block level.
2.      Assam State Wide Area Network (ASWAN) has been identified as the core connectivity option for supporting the CSCs. The ASWAN Scheme proposes to establish 2 MBPS connectivity bandwidth up to the block level.
3.      Assam can boast of a good ITC infrastructure and all major bandwidth providers are having their presence in the State and expanding their operations.

CSC Service Profile

The CSCs would offer a multitude of services ranging in the areas of e-Government, education, health, agriculture, commercial, retail, etc. It is to be noted that delivery of Government services would be mandatory for the CSCs.  

Nature of Government Support

Only part financial assistance in form of QGR is envisaged under the CSC Scheme from the State Government.
2.      The track record of rural projects underscores the need and essentiality for financial support to achieve sustainability around e-Government services. The challenge here is to develop a framework for ascertaining the ?optimum level? of Government support. It is therefore proposed to cover the financial gaps, if any, to make the SCAs rural initiatives and operations towards providing Government and non-Government services, a viable venture. However, such a financial support may not cover all the investment and risks associated with this venture.
3.      To ensure sustainability, it is proposed that the SCAs would be provided support in the form of a ?Minimum Financial Support/ Guarantee against Government/citizen services?. The amount of support would be arrived at through a price discovery mechanism through this RFP for the final selection of SCAs.  

The Scope of the Project

The State of Assam has 4 revenue divisions covering 27 Districts. Each district has several revenue circles and blocks under them depending upon the geographical coverage and population, currently there are 146 revenue circles and 219 blocks in the State. The circles are divided into mouzas and mouzas are divided into villages. There are 26,247 Census Villages in the State as per Census 2001. For the purpose of deployment of CSC in the State, the districts have been conveniently clubbed into three groups .  

Status Of Common Services Centers (CSC) Project

Assam Electronics Development Corporation Ltd. has been nominated as the State Designated Agency (SDA) for implementation of the CSC project, of Govt. of India in the state of Assam on behalf of the Information Technology Dept. , Govt. of Assam. AEDC Ltd. issued the re-tendering notice in all the major national and local newspapers on 18th August 2007, vide tender no. AEDC/ICT/NeGP/CSC/08, Dtd. 17-8-2007 where it was advertised to invite public / private enterprises/ organizations to participate for establishing and operating approximately 4375 Common Services Centers in the state of Assam.
The role of the selected party / parties, also known as the SCA (Service Centre Agency) would be

o       Developing,designing,financing,constructing,establishing,implementing,oper-ating and maintaining the entire Common Services Centers network allotted to the SCA, including its linkage with the State Wide Area Network (SWAN).
o       Collating/developing a bouquet of content and services across various verticals to be delivered through these centers. For the purpose of deployment of CSC in the state, the districts have been conveniently clubbed into three groups for bidding purposes. The bidding for the CSC scheme will be for these three groups of districts and the prospective bidders may bid for one or more or all three groups of districts. The groups and districts under each group are tabulated below: 
Sl. No.Name of GroupsDistricts
1Group I: Central Assam and Southern Assam ( 1542 No. of CSCs)Nagaon, Morigaon, Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), North Cachar Hills , Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi, Karbi Anglong
2Group II : Eastern Assam (1303 No. of CSCs)Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Dhemaji, North Lakhimpur
3Group III : Western Assam and Northern Assam (1530 No. of CSCs )Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Baska, Dhubri, Goalpara, Nalbari, Barpeta, Darrang, Sonitpur, Chirang, Udalguri
The last date for sale of the tender document was 31st August 2007. In this regard 12 (twelve) parties procured the tender documents. 

Pre Bid Meeting

The pre bid meeting was held on 7th September 2007 at the office of the AEDC Ltd. which was attended by officials of IT Dept. Govt. of India, IL&FS , AEDC Ltd and representatives of the prospective bidders. 

Bid Submission & Opening

The bids for the above mentioned tender were accepted upto 3pm on 21st September 2007. The following 3 (Three) parties submitted their bids.

M/s Zoom Developers (P) Ltd, New Delhi.
o       M/s SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd.( M/s Wipro Ltd, Kolkata is the consortium partner.)
o       M/s. Reliance Communication Infrastructure Ltd., Kolkata. 

Technical Bid Opening

The technical bid were opened on 3rd October 2007 at the office of the AEDC Ltd. which was attended by officials of IT Dept. Govt. of India, IL&FS , AEDC Ltd and representatives of the qualified bidders.

Technical Presentations

A meeting was held on 11Th October 2007 for the technical presentation which was given by representatives of the qualified bidders to the members of the ANIAC committee and officials of AEDC Ltd. 

Review Meeting On Technical Bids

A review meeting of the ANIAC Committee members was held on 10th December 2007 to evaluate the Technical Qualification (Envelope-B) of the bidders at the office of the Assam electronics Dev. Corporation Ltd.As per the above score the Committee found the following two parties to be eligible for opening of Financial Bid.
 i.            M/s Zoom Developers Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi
ii.            M/s SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd. Kolkata 

Financial Bid Opening

As per the technical bid evaluation the financial bid for the qualified bidders were opened at 3pm on 10th December 2007 in presence of the representative of the bidders. 

Letter Of Intent

The LOI to the successful bidders were issued on 7th January 2008 as per given below.       
LOI AEDC / ICT/ NeGP/ CSC/ 08 / ZOOM/ 1/2673 Dtd. 7th Jan 2008 to M/s Zoom Developers Pvt. Ltd. , New Delhi for Group I , 1542 Nos. of CSC     
LOI AEDC / ICT/ NeGP/ CSC/ 08 / SREI/ 1/2667 Dtd. 7th Jan 2008 to M/s. SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd , Kolkata for Group II , 1303 Nos. of CSC & Group III 1530 Nos. of CSC. 

Master Service Agreement

The Master Service Agreement (MSA) for the CSC tender has been signed with both the parties as given below. 
MSA signed on 14th March 2008 with M/s SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd., Kolkata for Group II & Group III districts of Assam.
ii.            MSA signed on 25th March 2008 with M/s Zoom Developers (P) Ltd., New Delhi for Group I districts of Assam. M/s SREI, Kolkata has submitted a Bank Guarantee of Rs.40 lacs for two groups as Performance Security valid for a period of 36 months.

M/s Zoom Developers (P) Ltd. , New Delhi has submitted a sum of Rs. 33.47 lacs as Performance Security valid for a period of 12 months. 

Integration of CIC with CSC:

The SCA shall integrate the CICs as per the terms and conditions mentioned below:
1.      Existing two (2) CIC Operators of each CIC will be preferred in the service of SCA (VLE or VLE Operator), on terms and conditions not inferior to the current ones and on mutually agreed conditions.
2.      The physical and IT assets other than the building provided by the Government of India to the CIC centers would be handed over to the SCA as is where basis at nominal cost.
3.      Space of Government building where CICs are being located will be given to the SCA on nominal lease basis on mutually agreed terms and conditions. Efforts are to be made to move the CIC functioning in the schools to a suitable outside premise in consultation with the school authorities/State Government.
4.      Relocation of CICs, if any, and not covered under para (iii) above, shall require approval of the State. However relocation cost will be by borne by the SCA.
5.      The SCA shall relocate (wherever required) and put into operation the existing CICs within seven (7) months from the date of signing the MSA. Any delay in making the unit operational, on accounts of reasons attributed to the SCA, will attract penalty charges at a rate of Rs.500/- per CIC per day.  
6.      The SCA will bear the necessary recurring expenditure for utility charges (like electricity, diesel for generator set, phone bill etc.) with effect from handing over of CICs to SCA by State Government.
7.      The SCA will have the discretion of using CIC?s present infrastructure for connectivity or using ASWAN as and when required, however attempt will be made to provide free connectivity through ASWAN for delivery of G2C services.
8.      The SCA should make every effort to subsume other existing kiosks functioning under the various district level initiative within the ambit of the CSC Scheme.