ICICI Bank is teaming with Californian computer services firm Wyse Technology and Bangalore IT consultancy Comat Technologies to deliver electronic banking services to remote and isolated communities in India.
The three firms will manage a project which is being introduced by an international consortium of banks - including the World Bank - technology firms, and local government departments.
The consortium initially plan to establish Internet centres in around 5000 villages in Karnataka that will provide the local population with electronic access to financial services along with education, health care and legal services.
Each centre will house five to ten maintenance-free thin client terminals and will be connected to the Internet by either land lines or satellite links. The consortium plans to introduce Web centres to other rural areas across the country following the pilot project in Karnataka.
Sriram Raghavan, president, Comat Technologies, says: "This is the first time these communities will be able to access and interact with leading private enterprises, such as ICICI Bank, and other service providers in the insurance and education sector."
Nachiket Mor, executive director, ICICI Bank, adds: "Internet based channels are key to the delivery of financial services in rural India. ICICI Bank has over 2000 rural Internet kiosks across India and we plan to increase this number significantly to cater to people at all levels of economic development."
John Kish, president and CEO, Wyse Technology, comments: "We see this as the 'rural services' blueprint for populations in developing nations everywhere."