TCS bags largest e-governance deal

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New Delhi, Nov 20: Country's largest e-governance contract has been bagged by India's largest IT company, Tata Consultancy Services. It emerged as the lowest bidder to computerise Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) and provide smart cards to around 1.5 crore industrial workers across the country. According to a government official, TCS bid Rs 1,677 crore ($320 million) for the contract, beating its closest IT rivals Infosys and Wipro who bid about Rs 2,100 crore ($420 million) and Rs 1,890 crore ($380 million ), respectively. The financial bids were opened on Tuesday, Nov 18.

While none of the parties were willing to comment, normally tendered contracts are awarded to the L-1 (lowest) bidder. An announcement will be made soon, said the government official who requested anonymity. ESIC is a statutory corporation under the ministry of labour & employment for implementing social security schemes. The ESIC scheme provides social security protection to over one crore industrial workers and their family members under the ESI Act 1948. The bids were invited for implementation of 'Project Panchdeep' on build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis towards IT-enablement of ESIC from global IT service providers. According to the contract, all 1.01-crore users (and family members) of ESIC will be issued smart cards that will store their insurance payment, billing and medical records.

The project is slated to be operational in the next 12-18 months. The ESIC project will beat the Rs 1,000-crore Passport Seva Project, again bagged by TCS, as the largest e-governance contract in the country.

Under the five-level Panchdeep Project of ESIC, all services related to identification, authentication and verification of members will be enabled by the IT service provider.

In the second and third levels -- services for networking/bandwidth and those related to hardware for data center, disaster recovery, desktops, laptops and middleware will be provided by the IT vendor. The fourth and fifth levels of the project relate to services provided in the hospital and dispensaries of ESIC. It has about 144 hospitals under it and 1,388 dispensaries across the country.

The five levels of the project are respectively termed as Pehchan, Milap, Pashan, Dhanvantri and Pragati. The $5.7-billion TCS in the past has said that global e-governance contracts will contribute almost 10 per cent to its revenues by 2011. The contract would be a big boon to any company that bags it as every IT firm is struggling to find new export business in the current global economic downturn.

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