Information Kiosk Based Indian E-Governance Service Delivery: Value Chain Based Measurement Modeling

Harekrishna Misra

Institute of Rural Management Anand, India. Email:


E-governance initiatives, despite their acceptance in the form of e-government systems, have so far remained hype-worthy in many parts of the world. E-governance being citizen-centered is dependent on matured e-government systems. Thus e-governance is considered a superset of e-government systems. It is often argued that success in rendering e-governance services is attributed to the initiatives that a nation takes in establishing its e-government standards and augments it with e-government maturity. Failure stories abundantly reflect the fact that such initiatives with the perspectives of citizen-centric services have not yielded encouraging results. Estimates indicate that 35 per cent are total failures, 50 per cent are partial failures, and 15 per cent successes in developing and transitional countries (Heeks & Molla, 2009).

It is argued that e-governance initiatives are often conducted in project mode and each project forms an island for deliveries creating an overwhelming gap between project design and on-the-ground reality (known as design-reality gaps). This gap contributes to failures. Despite such discouraging outcomes, e-government initiatives in developing countries have evolved to a level of acceptance among government agencies and backend service provisioning organizations (Harfouche & Kalika, 2009; Mishra,2010).

Most countries are now in the phase of assessing the "impact" on issues related to "efficiency", "effectiveness", and "equity". This is because most e-governance efforts are now beyond the initial phases of addressing the primary challenges of the "digital divide", "setting up infrastructure", and "spreading awareness" in the context of delivering citizen-centric e-governance services. Most countries are now able to showcase their e-governance services and declare the uninterrupted "availability" of these services including overcoming the spatial challenges (Bhatia, 2005, Bovaird, 2005).

While e-governance systems in many countries have evolved to a level of maturity, they have remained supply-driven so far. E-government services are, however, now "mandatory" in nature and citizens are expected to use them. In developing countries the usage of mandatory services continues to reflect the continuation of "digital divides", showing disjointed patterns in usages among rural-urban communities. In rural areas, especially in India, development perspectives like income generation, health and education still influence the success of mandatory services. While it is argued that readiness, availability, and uptake phases of e-governance systems are no longer current for the evaluation of success, most developing countries continue to grapple with these issues (Dass & Bhattacherjee, 2011, Heeks & Molla, 2009). Moreover there are many additional challenges such as use divide, low latent demand, and sub-optimal usage of e-governance services.

In the Indian context, many Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) are either in the process of implementation or have been commissioned. NeGP architecture recognizes the layered properties of national governance that occur in the form of "national agency", "state agency" and "Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs)" aimed at ensuring the delivery of citizen benefits. NeGP, in order to extend these benefits, has included twenty seven MMPs.

The MMP approach suggests architectural imperatives through three distinct categories of services which are central projects. These projects aim to meet regional requirements and to extend services provided by non-governmental agencies, business, judiciary, etc. The MMPs play a critical role for unification of ICT mediated services in India. However, it is a challenge for policy makers to ensure a robust mechanism through which converged services could be rendered to Indian citizens seamlessly through various modes.

Points of services (PoS) and their modes of implementation do matter for citizens in India because seamlessly integrated services can be channeled through these PoS. Information kiosks (IK) today are visible in various forms in India including PCs, mobiles and personal digital assistants (PDAs) to act as PoS. Various IK based e-Governance services (IKBES) are being rendered by various agencies like "Common Service Centres (CSC)" under NeGP, "Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK)",

"Village Resource Centres (VRC)", "Village Knowledge Centres (VKC)" and "e-Gram" are available for rendering e-governance services. In some cases as with the CSCs, an entrepreneurship model has been adopted and in some other cases like e-Gram, pure government services are being rendered. KVKs/VRCs are mostly run by agricultural universities/Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) with government funding while some of them are operated by NGOs with external grants.

In the entrepreneurship model CSC operators are expected to make the business viable by providing B2C, G2C and B2B services whereas in other models business viability is not important. However, such variants of IKBES in rural areas have given the opportunity to study the value additions in the process that lead to citizen acceptance. Such study may be fruitful to understand a) how the services are rendered by service providers, b) whether these services are received, used, and accepted by citizens, c) whether a value chain based framework can provide better insights to citizen acceptance of IKBES and d) what influences the viability of IKBES. This analysis is essential because the priorities of the government of India to provide converged services and evolution of UIDAI are in this direction (UIDAI, 2010).

The organization of the paper is as follows. In section two, availability of information-kiosk based e-governance services in rural India is discussed. This section also presents an overview of the policies supporting these services and the rationale behind establishing such service delivery networks. Through this overview, it is explained that there are various forms of IKBES and these either aim for pure e-governance services or a combination of e-governance, e-commerce, and e-business services. In section three, a framework has been developed to understand the acceptance imperatives among rural citizens and information-kiosk operators providing services.

The relationship between these service provisioning agencies and rural citizens is presented in the framework. It is argued here that both these categories of stakeholders contribute to the viability and sustainability of e-governance services. In section four, research methods adopted to assess the fitness of the framework have been discussed. In section five, analyses of results obtained through a modeling exercise have been presented. In this section two cases have been discussed to support the findings of the fitness exercise adopted for the model. The concluding section discusses the results of the evaluation of the exercise with a note on the direction for further research.


The Information Kiosk is an integral part of the e-governance architecture. An Information Kiosk in this paper is defined as an information technology infrastructure set up for providing access to e-governance services. Till recently, Indian e-governance considered the Information Kiosk as a "Point of Service" (PoS). Citizens need to come to these PoS to avail services. Today, however, with the advance of technology, Indian e-governance services are planned for location independent PoS like Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), and Mobiles with Wireless Application Protocols (WAP). Citizens can use the services on-line at their preferred places. This work is based on the fact that WAP enabled Indian E-Governance services are not yet mature. They are still on PoS with a physically restricted space. Generally a kiosk is linked to the service provisioning agencies through the Internet backbone. Some of the forms of Information Kiosks in India are listed in Table 1 below.

Table 1. Generic Forms of Information Kiosks in India

Forms of Information Kiosk


IT Infrastructure

Ownership/ Services


In one location catering to 10,000 population

Personal Computer, Printer/ Scanner, UPS, V-SAT/ Landline / Wireless Broadband Connectivity, Internet

Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE)/ G2C, B2C etc.


Panchayat Level Presence covering a few Villages

Personal Computer, Printer/ Scanner, UPS, V-SAT Connectivity, Internet

Panchayat manages the Service through a Contract, Employee Selected from the Village


Agriculture University Campus/ NGOs


Agriculture related Information Services, expert advice and sharing innovations


In identified location covering few villages

Satellite Based connectivity, Space technology oriented infrastructure

ISRO in Collaboration with NGOs, Trusts and Government Agencies/ Tele-Medicine, Tele-Education, Watershed Management, G2C, Agriculture Information


In an identified and willing Village

Typically connected to VRC hub having 20-30VKCs around 60Km radius/ Spread Spectrum Wireless Technology/ Computers with network

Partnerships with Village/ISRO/NGO;

DTP services, Information on Agriculture Services, Health related services, Commodity Prices, G2C

Dairy Information Kiosks (DISK)

Dairy Cooperative Societies

Personal Computer, Printer, UPS, Landline / Wireless Broadband Connectivity, Internet, Electronic Test Equipments

Cooperative Societies, Information on Live Stock, Milk Collection, Members, Input Services for the Live Stock

ITC e-Choupal Kiosks

Agri-Business and Input Services

Personal Computer, Printer, UPS, V-Sat Connectivity

Information on on-line Commodity Price, Weather, Quality Checks for Products, Market Linkages, Provisioning of specialist services on Agriculture

Automated Teller Machines (ATM)

Identified by the Banking Institutions

ATM Kiosk, V-SAT enabled Virtual Private Networks

Banking Services related to Transactions

Railways Reservation/Enquiry Information Kiosks

Indian Railways Stations/ Travel Agencies/ Cyber Cafe

Virtual Private Networks of Indian Railways/ Web Portals

Railways Information Systems/ Authorized Agencies

Airline Reservation/Enquiry Information Kiosks

Airlines/ Travel Agencies/ Cyber Cafe

Virtual Private Networks of Airlines/ Web Portals

Airline Information Systems/ Authorized Agencies

Mobile and Handheld Personal Digital Assistants

Near to the Citizens (Business Correspondents, Cooperatives etc.)

Landline / Wireless Broadband Connectivity, Internet, Virtual Private Networks

Civil Society, Cooperatives, Banks for Financial Inclusion Services, Transport Sector; Mostly on-line services

As presented in Table 1, IKBES in India have evolved to a scenario in which various forms of IT infrastructure including handheld devices are used for the benefit of citizens (Bhatnagar, 2004). Many isolated attempts are made to provide IKBES in India with a view to install better governance systems through government agencies, civil society and public-private-partnerships. The aim is to provide a holistic approach to the IKBES to render orchestrated and multi-agent services interfaces. These interfaces are expected to provide G2C, B2C and other business oriented services to the citizen at the PoS with Virtual Private Networks (VPN), D2H services and web-enabled applications with various internet bases (Toyoma, 2005) while transforming the information kiosk operators to entrepreneurs. CSC is an example of this concept which has been rolled out across India (Dass & Bhattacherjee, 2011, Lai-Lai, 2001, Rangaswamy, 2006). Despite prolific advancements in deployment of IKBES, citizen acceptance in using services has been a major concern. The entrepreneurs face challenges in sustaining the business due to meager return on investments in rural areas. More specifically, this situation prevails in the case of CSCs. This phenomenon is also global in nature (Heeks & Molla, 2009, Toyoma, 2005). Thus there is a need to study the issues and find the reasons behind the poor response of citizens while discovering ways for entrepreneurs to have a sustainable business through IKBES outlets.


E-Governance services are generally rendered through a common interface i.e., an Information Kiosk having various forms. This enabling device aims to transform the very idea of "digital divide" to create "digital opportunities" across the world. Literature on establishing IKBES suggests that the establishment of Information Kiosks (IK) in rural areas is not good enough for delivering the services as desired. Maturity in e-Governance services are dependent on many factors including convergence in the context of government services and convergence of carriage with better technology interfaces for rural e-governance. User Centered Designs (UCD) and better usability of IKs through the rural citizens' inclination to use technology-enabled services also influence the usability of IKBES (Heeks & Molla, 2009). Global IKBES efforts indicate various challenges during the scale up of such services. These challenges are attributed to "design-reality gaps", "supply-demand gaps", and "trust worthiness" among citizens, intermediate agencies involved in the IKBES, and entrepreneurs and governments (Lai-Lai, 2001).

European Union (EU) studies on "user challenge benchmarking" reveal that the size of the nation and the centralized governance structures have enhanced the spread and acceptability of citizen-centric services (i2010, 2010; Schellong, 2009). Studies also emphasize bridging the significant gap between business, government and citizen interfaces through IKBES networks to minimize the rural-urban divides. The EU study also recommended the provisioning of single-window services through IKBES with the hope of "clustering of government transactions (G2C)". The EU recognized the need for "user-centricity" for citizens through transaction security and multi-mode delivery interfaces such as call centers and mobile services. The EU insists on standardized common portals with converged citizen-centric services across its member countries for better accessibility and transparency leading to trust. The EU study argued that in the EU, IKBES modes have reached a maturity level of 70 per cent in providing government services whereas the maturity level is 84 per cent in business interfaces.

The study indicates that IKBES needs to provide a mix of services for common citizens with a proper clustering of services related to business, government and citizen-centric livelihood generating avenues. The EU report on digital competitiveness (i2010, 2009; Lai-Lai, 2001; Mishra, 2010) stresses providing converged services on broadband enabled last-miles, and enhancing ICT enabled social capital, enhancing business competitiveness at the last mile through the creation of digital opportunities for business houses and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship in e-governance service models is an important issue since many countries including India have encouraged the approach in which entrepreneurs are operating information kiosks with their own investments.

The Approach

Studies on global IKBES approaches provided the motivation for this work. It is generally accepted that IKBES need to evolve beyond supply-driven modes to collaborative platforms through which business, government, and rural citizens could contribute to the growth of digital competitiveness. There have been instances in developing countries of various IKBES services that were evaluated on the basis of "profit vs. service orientation", "narrowly focused service orientation i.e., only government services", "commercial vs. development i.e., charging fees for certain services and rest are free" etc.

The Indian scenario is not different from these experimental scenarios. Economic considerations for rendering e-Governance services are quite important because citizens expect these services as part of their citizen rights. Citizens are aware of limitations in availing themselves of services on demand through traditional modes (bureaucratic and manual interfaces) and thus the digital mode of services provides distinct advantages despite the fact that e-services may be priced. This pricing strategy provides the scope for establishing enterprises which can act as service providers and channel services for the citizens.

This entrepreneurship model has the potential to generate revenue through transaction fees collected from citizens. As explained in Table 1, CSCs and e-Grams are two forms of IKBES considered for evaluation which generate revenue for the operator. Thus the viability of IKBES becomes important. In addition, these two forms of IKBES are predominantly available in rural India. Since Indian rural e-governance approaches are challenged by heterogeneity in society, culture, political, and state level decentralization there is a need to provide a unique approach for evaluating the appropriateness of IKBES in rural India. It is essential that IKBES in rural India be seen as a value adding proposition. This IKBES concept can evolve to become a micro-enterprise having socio-economic considerations with active support from all stakeholders (Toyoma, 2005, LIRNEasia, 2006). In this paper, the "Value Chain Modelling" (VCM) approach has been adopted for the IKBES based on the EU concept. In Figure 1 the basic concept is presented.

Figure 1. Conceptual Interface Model

In Figure 1 it is argued that the "demand" of rural citizens on IKBES portfolios will depend on the citizens' perceived value propositions. This perception is based on the opportunities the IKBES provides to enhance their income generation opportunities, market linkages and other livelihood centric services including health, education and other infrastructures. The model intends to capture these attributes as the influencers that "supply" the services with innovative practices on a continuous basis. The upper layer in the model generates services to cater to the needs of rural citizens. Each layer in the model is "independent" of the others and is a part of the "layered architecture" (Mishra, 2010). Layer-I indicates that IKBES service portfolios would not be binding on the rural citizens. Similarly Layer-II suggests that IKBES entrepreneurs need to understand and internalize the challenges related to "market orientation" and "networking" among agencies for generating sustainable business opportunities. Layer-III in the model includes all the service provisioning agencies including government to ensure that convergence exists across services through the Layer-II. This convergence binds all the stakeholders for the common cause i.e., value additions to the life of rural citizen. Layer-II in this architecture needs to be viable as a business unit in order to encourage the IKBES operator to accept this model as a business model, remain in the business and continue to engage with all agencies to render services to the citizens. This approach thus provides scope to analyze the behavior of the IKBES with value additions in each stage of the architecture.

Value Chain Model for IKBES

The Value Chain Management (VCM) model1 embraces every effort involved in planning, sourcing, producing, and delivering while striving for cost optimization (Porter, 1985). The VCM model is about controlling costs to provide a competitive advantage to all the stakeholders in the chain. Here the concept of "margin/profit" is not the primary focus. In this paper it is argued that rural citizens in India are much more concerned about their livelihoods. Their livelihood systems are not only dependent on the production systems but are largely influenced by the availability of information symmetry, input services, and an assured market with better remunerative returns. Therefore, a mere "margin led strategy" would be inadequate. In order to facilitate these imperatives through IKBES a robust VCM is necessary. IKBES therefore has a role to play in terms of creating an enabling environment for providing better information management to simulate a "perfect market" condition for the citizens. This perfect market includes availability of government services, availability of inputs for production systems, and innovative service portfolios etc. IKBES owners, therefore, need to transform themselves into social entrepreneurs with business imperatives (Drucker, 1985). Concurrently, rural citizens need to accept this transformed scenario and support the activities of IKBES entrepreneurs with the same rigour. Mutual acceptance, therefore, is a necessity.

In this paper the mutual acceptance of stakeholders in the VCM is measured via three dimensions. The first dimension is "acceptance of rural citizens" of the value propositions available to them through IKBES. The second dimension is "acceptance of the IKBES entrepreneur" and the third dimension is "viability of IKBES services". The VCM proposed in this paper is argued to be influenced by "Business Values", "Government Values", and "Socio-Technical Values" (Drucker, 1985; Porter, 1985). The Business Value explains returns that a stakeholder can perceive during a transaction with IKBES. Government Values are indicative of the availability of government services that a citizen can avail at the IKBES. Socio-Technical Values are determined by the trustworthiness and ease of use of technical infrastructure and transparency maintained at the IKBES. In addition, the IKBES entrepreneur also looks at this investment with returns in the form of social recognition and leadership in the village. In Table 2 below these dimensions are discussed in detail.

Table 2. VCM Details

The model presented in Figure 2 is based on the explanation provided in Table 2.

As presented in Figure 2, the viability of an IKBES is quite important because citizens are expected to pay for the services they receive. In order to provide paid services to citizens it is also equally important that IKBES operator has the entrepreneurial skills and they are in a position to channel those services through networks supported by various agencies including government. Besides, these operators should also be able to invest in the centre and thus investment risks are to be examined. Two major concerns are addressed in the process of ascertaining viability and they are "citizen acceptance" and "entrepreneur acceptance".

In Table 2, these concerns and the process for addressing them are presented. Citizens in the process of receiving service through IKBES as an improvement from the traditional mode are likely to look for the trustworthiness of the IKBES operator, as well as service availability on demand and quality of service. It is argued that "Citizen Acceptance" in rural India will depend on the avenues created for them through IKBES, identifying a socially worthy entrepreneur who has wider acceptance in the area, and providing quality service on demand. Acceptance of the IKBES entrepreneur too is equally important since this would be a catalytic agent between the service providers and rural citizens in the VCM. The IKBES operator needs to have a market with an assured stream of revenues that may be made available through a network of government agencies, business entities and other sources in the service supply chain. This scenario is best understood through VCM model supported measurements. The overall viability of the IKBES is, thus, dependent on these two contributors i.e., the rural citizens' acceptance and entrepreneurs' acceptance of the services being delivered.

Figure 2. Proposed VCM

Figure 2 presents alternate "hypotheses" that are presented through "dependencies" (d) as follows:

Citizen Acceptance= d {Business Values, Government Values, Socio-Technical Values} -------- (1)

IKBES Entrepreneur Acceptance = d {Business Values, Government Values, Socio-Technical Values} -------- (2)

IKBES Viability = d {Citizen Acceptance, IKBES Entrepreneur Acceptance} -------- (3)

Figure 2 presents the proposed model. Three hypotheses presented above, however, do not reflect the coefficients through which the dependencies will be measured. The task in this paper is to measure the overall fitness of the model proposed. Through this fitness exercise the justification of the relationships between the "variables" constructed will be discussed. This justification will provide predictive abilities to the investor who would understand the implications of the IKBES management. In Table 3 below, the variables are presented for clarity of the application of the hypotheses. The LISREL 8.80 software has been used for examining the fitness of the model and to generate relationships through a Structural Equations" based "Path Diagram".

Table 3. Variables Used


This research work involved secondary surveys on IKBES approaches in India. Based on the secondary survey, two forms of IKBES were considered for examining the fitness of the proposed model. The first form of IKBES was "e-Gram", which is a state supported service targeted at rural citizens in the Indian state of Gujarat. The services are related to government agencies providing G2C services including information on agriculture, land records, birth and death certificates. The other form of IKBES includes the "CSC", which is based on the entrepreneurship model. The organization chosen in this case is "SAHAJ - e-Village", which is a State Level Agency (SLA) providing CSC networks in six states of India and aims to provide B2C and G2C services. The State of West Bengal was chosen to survey the CSCs because it is the headquarters of the organization and support was available for visits to two districts (Howarh and North 24- Paragana). The paper aims to examine the "fitness" of the model proposed and the sampling plan known as "purposive sampling" (Nunnally,1978) was adopted for this reason. The purpose was to include some forms of IKBES that would be representative of both "business" and "government" dimensions. This is because of the overall perception of rural citizens and IKBES owners that e-Governance efforts are directed by governments. Thus responsibilities lie with the government to ensure availability and viability of IKBES services (Bhatnagar, 2004, Lai-Lai, 2001, Rangaswamy, 2006, Toyoma, 2005).

Figure 3. The Sample Size and Composition

The purposive sampling plan included IKBES owners and rural citizens. A primary survey was conducted based on the questionnaires via Likert Scaling (1-extremely negative, ..., 7-extremely positive). The proposed model tries to estimate the preparedness of various stakeholders in the acquisition process. "Stimuli" are aimed at the stakeholders and a "summation" is needed to understand the overall preparedness of the organization for which the "Likert scaling" method has been adopted to conduct the survey and analysis (Mcliver & Carmines, 1994, Nunnaly, 1978, Spector, 1988).Thus a higher value indicates a higher level of acceptance. The sample respondents were visited personally during the survey, hence the response rates of the primary survey was hundred percent. However, a sample size of only 58 could be obtained. This was due to the dispersed locations of IKBES centres. Figure 3 presents the composition of sample size and respondents. Out of 58 samples, citizen respondents numbered 34 whereas the number of owners of CSC and e-Gram were 10 and 14 respectively. In Table 4 below the variables and their measures used for data collection are listed.

Table 4. Data Collection Instruments


Questions/ Measures

Citizen-Business-Value (CzBV)

There is remunerative return for the IK operator

Citizen will visit efficient IK repeatedly

Citizen has the ability to pay for services through IK

Citizen-Government-Value (CzGV)

Citizens are happy to receive services through IK

Citizens require hassle free single-window government services

Citizens save time to receive government services through IK



Citizen perceive better social status for IK operator

IK operator feels proud to provide services through IK

IK operator is at ease to operate IK



IK operator has the flexibility to provide services on demand

IK operator desires to invest in IK for better services

Citizens are willing to get innovative services through IK operator



IK operator can earn through government services delivery

Government is willing to channel more services through IK

IK operator has the trust in government to deliver services

Entrepreneurship- Socio-Technical-value


IK provides the avenue to provide technology oriented service

Services through IK has the due recognition

IK is well appreciated for providing many services on-line



Price of services rendered by IK is reasonable

Time taken to get service from IK is manageable

Number of services available in IK on demand is adequate



There is a market for IT enabled services in the vicinity

People are willing to pay better price for innovative services

There is scope to converge all the services through IK

Viability - Government


Government can provide all the services through IK

Government can rely on IK to provide services with security

People can trust IK to get government services

Viability - Socio-Technical-


IK operator can render services for less money

IK operator can manage the technical challenges

Services through IK have high social value

*Note: IK is the acronym used for Information Kiosk

Limitations of this Method

This research method may reflect biases because of the creation of a meta-model through structural equations using metrics of higher order along with exogenous and endogenous contributors. In order to limit these biases structural equation results have been examined through expected benchmarks. This has been part of this work and explained in later sections. Besides this validation, case-based methods have also been adopted. Since focus of work is on the CSCs, a second mode of IKBES in the form of e-Gram is also taken up for understanding the applicability and suitability of the model.

Modelling Technique

The aim of the paper is to measure acceptance of services rendered by IKBES centres by rural citizens. It also intends to measure the acceptance of services rendered by the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and other service provisioning agencies including the government. In addition, the paper aims to measure this mutual acceptance in order to predict the viability of the entire process so that sustainable ownership of IKBES services is attained. Thus a predictive approach is taken up in this paper through Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) using the LISREL 8.8 software.

Figure 4. Path Diagram (Output of LISREL 8.8 used)

It is a known fact that a model tries to approximate reality. Theoretical model testing studies involve unobserved variables and survey data. In virtually all cases we cannot expect to have a completely accurate description of reality. If the model helps us to understand the relations between variables matching (fitting) the data we may judge it (the model) as validated (Bollen & Lennox, 1991). During the validation process it is essential to understand the relationship between variables governing the outcome of the proposed model. Adequacy of a model is typically determined using conceptual definitions of the unobserved (endogenous) variables along with observed variables (exogenous). Increasingly, model-to-data fit and parameter estimates form measurement models that utilize structural equation analysis, are being pursued. Model-to-data fit and parameter estimates are derived from the hypotheses and from structural models utilizing structural equation analysis. For theoretical model testing researchers tend to agree that specifying and testing models using unobserved variables with multiple item measures of these unobserved variables (endogenous) and survey data involves: i) defining model constructs, ii) stating relationships among these constructs, iii) developing appropriate measures of these constructs, iv) gathering data using these measures, v) validating these measures, and vi) validating the model (i.e., testing the stated relationships among the constructs).

Since the proposed model is considered a tool to predict the overall viability of IKBES, regression analysis in general and multiple regression analysis in particular carry specific importance for validation of the model. However, methodologists in the social sciences have warned against regression's potential for coefficient bias and sample-to-sample coefficient variation because of measurement error in the independent and dependent variables (Cohen & Cohen, 1983). SEM, which is considered a superset for regression analysis, is a more powerful technique on the other hand. SEM is best understood when examined with identification, specification, estimation and test-of-fit of the model (Cohen & Cohen, 1983, Pedhazur, 1997). Model specification is done through developing a "measurement model" as shown in Table 3 above. Model identification bespeaks a conceptual "path diagram" carved out of the measurement model, which is presented in Figure 2 above. Path diagram and measurement equations are derived from the primary data collected and have been presented in Figure 4 above. The estimation considers a linear structural relationship (LISREL), which is an algorithm under SEM that adopts the process of structure analysis through measurement equation (Dillon & Goldstein, 1984, Spector,1988). The path diagram presents the measurement errors, path coefficients, and relationships that each variable provides in the test-to-fit exercise. In Table 5 below, the variables used are discussed for clarity and understanding the path diagram (Figure 4).

Table 5. Metrics Used


Analyzing the fitness of a model of this kind is always contested by various researchers. A plethora of indices are in circulation for understanding and evaluating the fitness of the model.

Table 6: Goodness of Fit Statistics

It is quite evident from various studies that an index strongly favours is at times refuted by another researcher. Therefore, while there is no assured index to base the findings in favour, it is essential to understand the underlying principle of its applicability and make the findings contextual. In Table 6 some indices are presented to verify the fitness of the model proposed. All the indicators are well within the limits of the prescribed benchmarked values and may be concluded to enjoy higher validity. Besides, the primary survey indicates (Table 7) the respondents' views towards the value chain that IKBES can extend.

Table 7. Primary Response Analyses (Mean Values)

Most responses are within the range of 4 and 5 in the 7-point Likert scale (average). Significantly, however, CrGV, CrST, ErBV, ErST, and ErGV show better response in support of the value chain.


In this paper fitness of the model has been examined with the help of a small sample size in order to examine the appropriateness of the proposed model. The proposed hypotheses have been tested against the overall fitness of the model. The fitness of the model as presented in Table 6 suggests that the results conform to most of the benchmarked values. Apart from this test, the fitness exercise through the LISREL software based SEM generated a structural equation which is presented below.

ServiceV = 0.24*CitizenA + 0.65*Entrepre, Errorvariance = 0.17, R² = 0.83 ------ (4)

This equation (4) explains the relationship between Dependent Exogenous Variables "CitizenA" (Citizen Acceptance); "Entrepre" (Entrepreneur Acceptance) with Dependent Endogenous Variables "ServiceV" (Service Variability of IKBES) based on the inputs received from equations (1), (2) and (3). The dependencies have positive relationships with R2 of 0.83 (good fit) and less error variance. It implies that citizen acceptance and entrepreneur acceptance are two useful contributors to the overall viability of any IKBES set up. It is noted from the SEM findings that entrepreneurship needs to be given more importance (0.65) in comparison to citizen acceptance (0.24).

Further analysis on "citizen acceptance" suggests that citizens' inclination towards accepting IKBES services are influenced to a greater extent by business values (0.45). This implies that the availability of business opportunities and managing-related information on this matter will lead to better acceptance. However, government services and socio-technical values contribute significantly (0.21 and 0.24). Thus due care needs to be taken while providing services through IKBES services to the citizens. As regards the entrepreneurs who operate and manage IKBES, there is a larger focus on business value (0.37). This implies that IKBES needs to include business networking along with revenue earning streams through various agency networking. Government networked services have more weight (0.27) than the socio-technical values (0.23). This indicates that availability of government services is likely to contribute to the entrepreneurs' acceptance of the challenges and render IKBES viable. A close look (Table 7) at the primary responses received suggests that business, socio-technical and government dimensions of the entrepreneurship expect to contribute to the value chain.

Case Based Validations

Case based research is quite often used for quantitative and qualitative empirical research (Nunnally, 1978). While a case based study is normally organized to track a specific task at hand it is difficult to display generalization through it. However, it provides a base for building a model to predict a specific outcome. Case based research can use multivariate data analyses methods such as principal component analysis and linear regression. This research is aimed at building a model while testing and using it for prediction. Besides, case based study is beneficial for making observations, documentation, and analyses.

The case based approach is very useful for the evaluation of software engineering methods and models. The modeling approach proposed in this research is an attempt to understand the application of software engineering principles with a focus on UCD in order to examine the outcome (LIRNEasia, 2006). In this work, controlled studies have not been included; the study has been used instead to understand the characteristics of problems through modeling. Thus, a case study based research is deemed suitable (Dube & Pare, 2003). Case based study also supports replicable observations in software engineering models that might lead to confirmatory conclusions (Lee, 1989). It also provides scope to identify the causal link leading to success or failure of the Information Systems developed. A "focused group" discussion approach was taken to conduct this case based study and was independent of a sampling plan. Measurement was based on the "Likert Scale" ranged from 1 to 7. The highest value in the scale reflects the positivity of the result.

In this section cases related to forms of IKBES have been presented and evaluated based on the VCM methods. The forms of IKBES models chosen are "CSC" and "e-Gram". The rationale behind choosing these two forms is discussed in section 4.

Cases on CSCs

The first organization is "SAHAJ e-Village Ltd" based in Eastern India and is an SLA for six states. Table 8 presents the rollout status of CSCs. All the CSCs are controlled by State Level Nodal Centres through Regional Coordination Centres (RCCs).

Table 8: Rollout Status of CSCs (as on 31st March, 2011)

The organization manages all the rolled out CSCs through a centralized data centre. Major services include collecting electricity bills from consumers of various state-level electricity distribution companies, railway reservation services of the Indian Railways, e-Education in collaboration with Microsoft, and other services innovated by the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs).

Case of a VLE operating CSC:

The lady VLE, a graduate in agriculture, is involved with 3000 farmers of the surrounding villages. She took the support of SAHAJ to set up the IKBES to provide agriculture-related services to farmers and other services related to government and business houses. The VLE has all the equipment to test the soil as well as a store to supply agricultural inputs with the help of which she created Self Help Groups (SHGs) to promote vermin-compost practices. Yet her average monthly revenue through the IKBES amounts to Rs.1000, which is not commensurate with the investments.

Services planned by the government are not available through the IKBES leading to citizens' lack of trust in the latter. In Figure 5 the VCM-based findings have been presented. It is noted that SAHAJ needs to network with the appropriate agencies for G2C services and B2C services. Both the VLE and citizens complained about the non-compliance of the promises of SAHAJ during the setting up of CSCs in the area. Government apathy, poor connectivity, and non-availability of information on demand are some of the major constraints related to sustainability of business through the IKBES and winning the trust of citizens. However, the VLE did admit to an increase in her social acceptance due to CSC adoption. She has expressed hope that government services would be organized through the IKBES which SAHAJ needs to facilitate with immediate effect.

Figure 5. VCM Based Case Analysis -CSC

Cases on e-Grams

The Government of Gujarat launched e-Gram services covering 13,685 gram-Panchayats (Group of revenue villages). It aims to provide government services like the issuing of birth and death certificates, recording of rights for land, providing information on agriculture services etc (G2C). The number of G2C services rendered per e-Gram centre averages 226 annually. The latter also provides B2C services including utility payments like electricity bills, railway reservations etc. The average revenue an e-Gram Entrepreneur earns on an annual basis amounts to Rs.1,129/-(INR). Each panchayat takes care of the installations by engaging a local youth on a revenue sharing basis. A citizen is charged for the services (Range is Rs.10-Rs.15/- per transaction) as determined by the government of Gujarat.

Case of a Panchayat e-Gram Operator:

This case is related to a Panchayat catering to over 12000 people with 2500 households. The Government sponsored e-Gram has been in force since 2006. The Panchayat has appointed a lady Village Computer Entrepreneur (VCE) to provide services to the villagers. The VCE, a married woman with a degree in commerce, is trained in computer applications. She earns a monthly salary of Rs. 2500 from the Panchayat. The Panchayat's revenue stream is based on G2C services, utility services, and other infrequent DTP jobs.

figure 6
Figure 6. VCM Based Case Analysis: e-Gram

B2C services are not available and Panchayat is interested in investing in this opportunity. The VCE is quite content because of the social leadership and recognition she has earned through the VCE status. But she expects integration of other services like agriculture, education, and other G2C services. She has emphasized that the DISK operated through dairy cooperative should also be networked for better services. During focus group discussion the citizens expressed their satisfaction with regard to the G2C services mainly because of the saving in transaction cost and time. Besides, they are happy that corrupt officials do not demand money for such transactions anymore. Figure 6 amply suggests that government values for citizens and the Panchayat are quite high. The VCE and Panchayat having earned social values and technology is not a hindrance to providing services. However, citizens need more attention in terms of coverage while their association with the e-Gram needs to improve. Citizens think that business-related services would provide the right direction for this e-Gram form of IKBES.

Overall IKBES Viability Measurement

Overall viability of the IKBES model is presented through equation 4 in section 5.1. Figure 7 presents the results of a comparison between the two forms of IKBES case studies that have been conducted. Figure 7 indicates that entrepreneur acceptance is higher in both the forms. The score (out of 7 point scale) is attributed to high socio-technical acceptance in the village. Both entrepreneurs who have emerged as social leaders gained in respect after installation of the IKBES. The viability of IKBES in the case of e-Gram is higher because of government services that were made available. However, citizen acceptance remains a concern for both the forms. Tables 6 and 7 and Figures 4, 5, and 6 confirm the validity of the analyses based on primary survey, model output, and two case studies. This validity indicates a high influence of entrepreneurial acumen including government services as is evident from Figure-7. E-Gram is government service oriented and this is an ideal case in terms of laying the foundation for a sustainable value chain through entrepreneurial skills of IKBES owners.

Figure 7. IKBES Viability: CSC and e-Gram


The paper is directed to developing a measurement model to assess viability of the IKBES based e-Governance efforts in India. The rationale behind developing such a model lies in understanding the contributors of the success enjoyed by IKBES based on the VCM approach and the performance of CSCs vis-à-vis e-Gram. Figure 7 reveals that the success of the IKBES depends more on entrepreneurship values. Success of entrepreneurship is more dependent on services through government support and networks as shown in Figure 6 (case of e-Gram). This paper showcases an approach to assess IKBES viability through VCM modeling. It has taken e-Gram and CSC as two sample IKBES models prevalent in India. Both of these models are similar but with different viability issues.

As discussed earlier, e-Gram is sponsored by government agencies and operated by panchayats who are part of the Indian governance system. CSC however, is a pure entrepreneurship mode. Both the models are based on e-governance models with no limits on channelizing B2C and B2B services in addition to G2C services, and are therefore homogenous. Thus interactions with citizens are bound to be similar. E-Grams lack entrepreneurship acumen. The success rate of the CSCs has not been encouraging. Overall, e-Grams have been performing better than the CSCs. However, these CSCs have also provided the desired social leadership and acceptance in the community. Under both forms of the IKBES citizens have accepted operators as trustworthy entrepreneurs in varying degrees. This means that service orientation through innovative practices can support the viabilities of the IKBES. This study therefore, provides scope for academia to advance this work to assess other forms of IKBES models and helps planners and practitioners in e-governance engaged in providing citizen-centric services through service kiosks while ensuring viability for these kiosks.


This research is focused on the development of a model to assess/predict viability of the IKBES. In the process a small sample size and purposive sampling plan were adopted that might not have been free of biases. Thus, overall feasibility of the model needs better treatment in the context of testing hypotheses with greater rigour for assessing the model's "fitness". Further research needs to include a larger sample size while considering more forms of the IKBES. Assessment of fitness of the proposed model and its validation through alternate constructs and contributors are some of the future research agenda.


The author gratefully acknowledges the support of SAHAJ e-Village Limited and National Informatics Centre, Anand, Gujarat Informatics Limited, Gandhinagar, Gujarat in accessing both the forms of IKBES centres. Their kind support to facilitate discussion with the entrepreneurs and citizens is also highly appreciated. Earlier version of this paper was presented in the 5th International Conference on Theory and Practice on Electronic Governance (ICEGOV2011); published in the proceedings of the ACM (Misra, 2011).


1A value chain:


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