SREI Sahaj E-Village Limited, a subsidiary of the Kolkata-based Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited would roll out banking services at its 200 Common Service Centres (CSCs) in the rural areas of Orissa by August this year.
The company has tied up with leading banks like State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and HDFC Bank to enable the people in rural areas to open bank accounts at the CSCs.
The company’s data centres would be connected to the data centres of these banks and the people can carry out the banking transactions through the CSCs which will maintain all the records of the bank accounts. To facilitate the operation, the customers would be given smart cards.
“In the first phase on August 15 this year, SREI Sahaj E-Village Limited will roll out banking services in 2,000 CSCs across the country including 200 such centres in Orissa. We have started a pilot trial of this project along with PNB in Panapur village, about 25 km from Patna”, said Sabahat Azim, chief executive officer, SREI Sahaj E-Village Limited.
Apart from the banking services, the CSCs would also provide telemedicine and tele-agriculture services to the people in rural areas from this year.
According to the company’s telemedicine business model, the CSCs would provide diagnostic data to the patients. SREI Sahaj E-Village would set up health centres attached to these CSCs and the health workers would be engaged there.
The health centres would offer basic healthcare facilities while for speciality and super-speciality services, the company would forge tie-ups with leading hospitals of the country. SREI Sahaj E-Village would also have doctors on its payrolls.
“We would enter into tie-ups only with the ethical hospitals and not with those corporate hospitals which are profit-driven. Our health centres would encourage the use of generic medicines which are affordable by the rural masses. SREI Sahaj has conducted pilot trials of the telemedicine project in a few villages of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu”, said Azim.
Under the tele-agriculture business model, SREI Sahaj would offer full diagnosis of the diseased crop samples apart from the useful information on different crops.
SREI Sahaj E-Village has lined up an investment of Rs 1,000 crore for the next five years for implementing its projects in three phases.
In the first phase, the company would invest Rs 300 crore on setting up over 27,000 CSCs across the county including 3,648 centres in Orissa. These centres would cater to 2.87 million rural people in the country.
All these centres which are aimed at bridging the urban-rural digital divide through creation of a robust IT infrastructure at the village level are expected to be operational by March 2010.
In the second phase, SREI Sahaj Village would invest Rs 150 crore on providing services to the rural citizens at these CSCs while Rs 550 crore would be invested in the third phase in setting up rural business hubs.
The company has so far set up 11,313 CSCs across the country including 1,100 centres in Orissa.
Apart from the CSCs, the company has set up the Sahaj Academy in Kolkata to impart skill development to the rural people.
“We have already placed 334 people through the Sahaj Academy so far and we are aiming to place 50,000 people in the next 12 months”, claimed Azim.
SREI Sahaj has started a job portal to identify suitable manpower and train them in sync with the requirements of the different industries.
The company plans to set up 95 regional training centres throughout the country by December this year. All these centres would be run by the respective local entrepreneurs.