ITC - Rural Transformation through Technology

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Case Details:

Case Code : ECOA136
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : -
Organization : -
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : India
Industry : -

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"A quiet digital revolution is reshaping the lives of farmers in remote Indian villages. In these villages, farmers grow soyabeans, wheat and coffee in small plots of land, as they have for thousands of years. A typical village has no reliable electricity and has antiquated telephone lines. The farmers are largely illiterate and have never seen a computer. But farmers in these villages are conducting e-business through an initiative called e-Choupal, created by ITC, one of India's largest consumer product and agribusiness companies."

- Mohanbir Sawhney, McCormick Tribune Professor of Technology, Kellogg School of Management, USA.1

"ITC wants to create a high-quality low-cost fulfillment channel for rural India. The e-Choupal was the first step in the last mile towards complete backward integration. But it's also the first mile on a new information highway around which multiple suppliers and buyers can converge. It is transformational in its implications and can make a huge contribution towards rural well-being."

- Y.C. Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC.2


Towards the end of 2004, the cigarette and tobacco giant ITC set up its first rural shopping mall Choupal Sagar in Rafiqganj, a small village about four kilometres from Sehore town in Madhya Pradesh, India. The mall stood on an eight-acre plot with a shopping area of 7,000 square feet. Along with soaps, detergents and toothpaste, Choupal Sagar sold almost everything from television sets, pressure cookers, room heaters, watches, sewing machines, and grinders to motorbikes and even tractors. There were other unique services like a fuel pump for which ITC tied-up with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), a cafeteria, a primary healthcare facility serviced by a private healthcare service provider and banking facilities.

Economics | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Strategy, Case Studies

The ITC management preferred to call the initiative the 'second layer' of its agri-business model, e-Choupal. Started in 2000, e-Choupal had won several business awards. e-Choupal was perhaps the single largest information technology (IT) - initiative by a corporate entity in rural India.3...

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Economics Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Ethics, Case Studies


2] Nidhi Nath, Srinivas. "The village people," The Economic Times- Brand Equity, 14th January 2004.

3] "Farmers e-nabled - Markets not antipathic to masses," The Economic Times- Editorial, 26th May 2004.

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