Sahaj e-Village Limited, an initiative of SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd, hoped to answer the need of the Indian government's National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) to set up 100,000 Common Service Centres (CSCs) across rural India in 2006. This figure was subsequently revised to 250,000 CSCs in 2009. Sahaj aimed to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural India and set up one of the largest brick and mortar --and human --networks in rural India. With close to 27,000 IT-backed centers in villages with a population of less than 10,000 and 50 critical services in the domains of microinsurance, education, utility and government-to-citizen (G2C) services to over 300,000,000 rural people, Sahaj e-Village was literally taking urban services to the remotest nooks of rural India. Sahaj CSCs would provide rural consumers with direct access to modern, state-of-the-art technological facilities and computer education, thus dovetailing with its long-term plans of providing Internet connectivity across rural India. Case A, set in July 2010, presents the tough challenge that the top management at Sahaj e-Village Ltd had on its hands. It was serving a virtually untouched rural market through a greenfield project with a jittery workforce in place and was justifiably concerned about the viability and sustainability of the business.
The case introduces the reader to the fiduciary concerns of social enterprises and the restrictions faced by government-led enterprises when they plan to scale up of their organizations. Students are led to analyze organized and unorganized employment opportunities and challenges. The case lets students analyze and understand the: (1) Dynamics of the social networking market (2) e-Village business model and (3) Importance of an appropriate business model in the rural social entrepreneurship space