Thursday, May 30, 2013

In tech makeover mode, post offices to push the e-governance envelope

Dear Comrades,

E-mail may have killed the ‘letter’, but not the post-office.
The friendly, paper-and-glue smelling post-office is reinventing itself, becoming swank and going electronic.
An ambitious tech makeover at the Department of Posts may change things some more. You may soon be able to pay utility bills and insurance premiums at a post office. Why, you may even get to buy your bus ticket for that long delayed holiday!
The e-governance plan, called ‘India Post 2012’, is a multi-faceted IT automation programme that provides for computerisation and electronic linking of all the 1.6 lakh head and sub post offices in the country.
“India Post is all set to create technologically-enabled Dakiyas (postman) and Dakghars (post offices),” said Tanmoy Chakrabarty, Vice-President and Global Head, Government Industry Solutions Unit, Tata Consultancy Services, which has been selected by the DoP as the core systems integrator for India Post for six years as part of a Rs 1,100-crore arrangement.
“The post office will be able to function as the de-facto centre for e-governance by becoming the electronic point of delivery for private and public sector programmes,” he added.
In all, eight contracts are to be given out for hardware, software and systems integration. As the core systems integrator, TCS becomes responsible for overall integration of all the solutions (including those owned and delivered by vendors chosen through other contracts) and thus responsible for overall implementation of the ‘India Post 2012’ project.
Next, the DoP wants to give the postman a snazzy handheld device. This will enable him/her to function as a business correspondent, especially in the rural and semi-urban pockets. The vendor for this initiative is yet to be decided.
“A postman is more trusted than somebody who comes suited and booted, especially in the rural areas. Based on the trust that he enjoys of the local people, he will be able to function as a business correspondent and provide the last-mile link,” said Raghu Cavale, Vice-President and Head for India Business at Infosys.
Last year, Infosys bagged two deals — for rural systems integration and financial systems integration — from the DoP. While Sify has been engaged for network integration, Reliance Communications Infrastructure is the data centre services provider.
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