ITC set to launch mobile version to leverage smart phone reach, cheaper data

E-Choupal, the two-decade old initiative from ITC aimed to web-enable farmers to overcome challenges related to information access and procurement, is set for a major makeover this year.

Driven by increasing smart phone penetration in the country coupled with declining data costs, the FMCG and hospitality conglomerate plans to launch a mobile version of the programme by middle of 2019.

“We are now working on a new model for expansion of the e-Choupal network with lower bandwidth costs and increasing smart phone penetration. The new model, which we are calling e-Choupal 4.0, will be rolled out in the next couple of months…the desktop based e-Choupal will become mobile assisted services with a very different cost structure,” S. Sivakumar, who heads the Agri and IT Businesses at ITC said.

Declining costs

Mr. Sivakumar, under whose leadership the e-Choupal initiative was developed and executed, noted that when the programme was started 20 years ago, each e-Choupal cost around ?30 lakh; this subsequently came down to just about ?1.5 lakh as computers and technology became more affordable. The initiative now comprises about 6,100 installations covering over 35,000 villages in 21 States and serving over four million farmers across the country.

Under the current system, ITC helps build village internet kiosks. These kiosks enable farmers access information in their local language on the weather and market prices, besides knowledge on scientific farm practices and risk management.....Read more


Source web page: The hindu