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TCS bets big on overseas e-governance market
June, 17th 2008

Betting big on e-governance, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is not only bullish on participating in such projects in India, but is also looking at countries in the Middle East, Latin America, eastern Europe and Africa. E-governance is pegged to be a $35-40 billion market worldwide. E-governance refers to use of electronic means for governments interaction with citizens as well as businesses and for internal government operations.

India is one of the toughest markets to crack. Seeing our work here, a lot of countries are asking if we could do something similar for them. We are seeing traction in the Middle East, Africa, eastern Europe and Latin America. We have received a significant order from the department of education in Austria and are also looking at south-east Asia, said TCS vice-president and head of government solutions industry unit Tanmoy Chakrabarty.

The Commonwealth countries, which have the same systems and practices inherited from the British, make for very attractive markets, he added.

TCS had earlier implemented egovernance projects like the MCA 21 project with the corporate affairs ministry for digitisation and 100% electronic filing system and the APOnline project for the Andhra Pradesh government that provides multiple services through kiosks. It also set up a data centre in Guwahati for administration of value-added tax (VAT) in five north eastern states.

The good news is that so little has been done, Mr Chakrabarty said. He points out the Indian Railways as an example. While online ticketing has seen a great response, there are still queues at the railway counters. Not everyone has access to the Internet. In London, train tickets are sold at newspaper stalls. Why cant we buy railway tickets at the nearest grocery store or bus stops? he asks.

TCS has held discussions with the railway ministry to provide solutions that could enable just that. It is also talking to municipal corporations and telecom operators for bill payment solutions to be installed at ones residents welfare associations.

The firm has suggested that users pay a small fee for the services rendered under such projects.

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