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A project of STRW
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the
Requirements for the award of the
Post-Graduate Diploma in Management

Submitted By:
Rishabh Agarwal, Roll No: 09244
Vikas Darbari, Roll No: 09237

Submitted to
Dr. Tapan Kumar Nayak
March- 2010


We hereby declare that all information and data provided

in this report are collected from secondary source and are
true to the best of our knowledge

Signature of






This is to certify that this report contains bonafide work of

Rishabh Agarwal, Vikas Darbari during Term III, session
2009-2011 for the subject STRW.

DATE: Signature of


It is our immense pleasure to present the report on


Here we would like to express our deep sense of gratitude

to our

Respected faculty

Dr. Tapan Kumar Nayak

For his timely guidance, valuable support and

encouragement at every step of preparing this report. We
would also like to thank our lecturers, faculty members
and all those persons who have directly or indirectly
helped us in providing the books and amenities which
have helped in development of this report, without such
help this report would not have been possible.

Table of content

Chapter Name Page no.

Introduction 8

Literature Review 10

Justification of the study 14

Objective 15

Abstract 17

Introduction to company profile 18

E – choupal business model 21

Benefits & challenges 24

Financial analysis 30

Impact on decision making 42

Conclusion 45

Limitations 46

Bibliography 47


Table Name Page no.

1. Conventional transaction Vs e-choupal 22

2. e-choupal at glance 25

3. Mean value of benefits 43


Figure Name Page no.

1. working capital 30

2.Current ratio 31

3. Liquidity ratio 32

4. Absolute Cash ratio 32

5. Inventory days 33

6. Debt equity ratio 34

7. Interest coverage ratio 35

8. PBIT sales ratio 36

9. PAT to sales 36

10. Earning per share 37

11. Dividend per share 37

12. Price earning ratio 38

13. Market captilization 39

14. Price book ratio 39

Chapter 1


Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy producing 23 percent of

GDP, and employs 66 percent of workforce. Because of the green
revolution, India’s agricultural productivity has improves to the point that
it is both self-sufficient and a net exporter of a variety of food grains, yet
most Indian farmers have remained poor. The causes include remnants of
scarcity-era regulation and an agricultural system based on small,
inefficient land holdings. The other constraints are weak infrastructure,
numerous intermediaries, excessive dependence on the monsoon
variation between different agro-climate zones, and many others. The
unfortunate result is inconsistent quality and uncompetitive prices,
making it difficult for the farmers to sell his produce in the world market.
ITC’s trail-blazing answer to these problem is the - e-choupal initiative;
the single largest information technology-based intervention by a
corporate entity in rural India that is transforming the Indian farmer into
progressive knowledge-seeking netizens. Enriching the knowledge of
farmers & elevating them to a new order of empowerment. ITC aims to
confer the power of expert knowledge on even the smallest individual
farmer enhancing its competitiveness in the global market.

The traditional model

Indian farmers rely on Department of Agriculture, govt. universities,
insurance companies etc. for various inputs such as weather, modern and
scientific farming practices and insurance cover. Farmers approach input
retailers who source them from wholesalers who are in direct contact with
manufacturers. After harvest, farmers bring these produce to mandis; in
small multiple lots throughout the year, where beans are auctioned to the
traders and agents of the processing companies in an open outcry method.
The government facilitate fair price discovery and enable aggregation of
goods, regulate these market yards. Successful bidders then bed the
beans, weigh them, pay part cash to the farmers, and transport the cargo

to the processing units.

But with every intermediary the cost of produce increases to the

processor as intermediary adds his profit margin to the cost although the
farmers get the lowest price and margin in the whole chain.

e-choupal is a Hindi word which means – “Village meeting place”. e-
choupal is a virtual market place where farmers can transact directly with
a processor and can realize better price for their produce. e-choupal
makes use of the; physical transmission capabilities of current
intermediaries & aggregation, logistics, counter-party risk and bridge
financing. In June 2000, ITC Limited launched e-choupal in India and
now e-choupal has become the largest Internet based intervention in rural
India.e-choupal aims to provide farmers ready access to crop specific
real-time information to improve the farmer’s decision making ability
thereby helping them to better align their farm output to the projected
demand in Indian market. e-choupal, the Web-based initiative of ITC’s
IBD, offers the farmer all information about products and services they
need to enhance farm productivity improve farm-gate price realization
and cut transaction costs. Farmers can access the latest local and global
information on weather, scientific farming practices and market prices at
the village itself through the web portal in Indian languages – Hindi,
Marathi, Kannada and Telegu. e-choupal also facilitates the supply of
high quality farm inputs as well as purchases of produce at the farmer’s

e-choupal and the traditional model

The main attraction of e-choupal is that it connects large and small
producer and users and eliminates the need of middlemen (who are
essential in traditional market).e-choupal is a virtual market that brings
together vendors and customers. Geographical distance no longer restricts
participation of farmers. The main hurdle of traditional market is that
information asymmetry is inherent in the market where as e-choupal
provides for transparent transaction. The transaction time at the ITC hub
is less than at the mandi i.e. 2 or 3 hours where as 1-2 days in mandi.
Some more points are:-

• Customer cenric and not dependent on intermediaries.

• Capable of being used for many commodities & multiple
• Easily scalable once it is verified.
• Uses local talent and local people to develop local leaders.
• Uses all the existing institutions and legal frameworks.
• Scientific way of inspection, testing and weighing.


Chapter 2


Since ITC e-choupal is the project started by ITC in the recent year so
not much research is done on this in India.

The FIRST article “ICT for Rural Community Development” by Ekanath

Khatiwada brings out the significance of the role of Information and
Communication Technology as an effective tool for empowering the rural
masses. According to the author, there is a clear link between ICTs and
community empowerment. Information needs of the community need to
be assessed; content and software applications should be developed with
the continuous involvement and feedback from the community through
their capacity building; and special emphasis should be placed on its
access to women and poor people. The article presents some of the steps
adopted for technology development and transfer in rural community.
The SECOND article “Information and Communication Technologies
(ICT) and Sustainable Development” by Amrita Singh highlights that
advances in ICT have made it possible to consider a business model for
proliferating information nodes through India in a manner that is
financially viable and therefore sustainable. The article dwells upon the
significance of ICT as a key factor at both macro and micro levels in the
process of globalization. Further, the article has discussed TARAhaat, an
ICT enterprise focusing on the needs of village communities which were
set up by the development alternative group. It examines the different
activities and achievements of TARAhaat.
The THIRD article “The Role of e-Panchayats” by B P Gupta, is about e-
Panchayat’s role in reducing poverty, creating selling and distribution
efficiencies. Through electronic-panchayats farmers can gain better
knowledge about agricultural inputs, dairy development and promoting
education in rural India. Cooperative societies can be made stronger with

the help of e-panchayats. The article examines that e-governance could
result in better knowledge of inputs in terms of knowledge of seeds,
knowledge of new fertilizers, better management of irrigation facilities,
and increased use of modern farm equipment, weather forecasting and
sowing seeds. In dairy development the e-panchayats can boost the
spread of the latest information about advances in dairy farming
practices. The significance of e-panchayats is the crux of this article.

The FOURTH article “Developing IT Networks in Rural India” co-

authored by P Vijaya Kumar, N Appa Rao and L Pratap Reddy expresses
the need for maximizing rural earnings and improving work environment
and sustainability. The focus of this article is on the role of information
networks in catering to the specific needs of the rural population. Major
areas concerned under the study are rural education and development,
rural economy development and rural health and nutrition development.
The FIFTH article “Communication and Information Technology in
Literacy for Rural Development” by B S Vasudeva Rao examines the
potential use of information and communication technology in rural
education. In this context, the article examines how certain forms of ICT
can diffuse information faster than other channels of communication. The
communication methods used in non-formal education are also
highlighted. The article examines various strategies to implement ICT in
rural literacy campaigns such as review of existing ICT methods,
providing proper orientation to field functionaries of ICT about the local
conditions, existing resources, socio-education-cultural background of the
target groups and many more. In the concluding part the author draws the
inference that before introducing any new communication technology in
the rural development and mass campaign programme, people should be
made aware of it and educated.
The SIXTH article “Rural Entrepreneur Development Programme in
Information and Communication Technology (REDPRINT)” by
Ramasubramanian O B focuses on the driving factors of ICT programmes
in rural parts of India. The rural ICT entrepreneur is either a kiosk
operator or a dealer or sub-dealer in ICT consumables or a franchisee for
monitoring the business of a larger corporate where he is the least
beneficiary or a paid employee. The most successful rural ICT enterprises
are those managed by Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) and Hindustan
Lever Limited (HLL). Rural Entrepreneur development programme in
information and communication technology suggests an approach where
the rural entrepreneur is viewed with more respect. Such an approach

would help build a long-term confidence, trust and ultimately sustain
rural ICT business.
The SEVENTH article “Effect of Mobile Telephony on Empowering
Rural Communities in Developing Countries” by Chaitali Sinha, argues
that mobile phones are quickly becoming affordable, useful and
accessible tools for many poor and rural communities around the world.
That would create economic opportunities and also strengthen social
networks. Further, this article discusses the motivation and nature of
increased proliferation of mobile handsets among poorer rural
communities in developing countries. The high cost of providing wired
communication facilities coupled with relatively low levels of purchasing
power, is tantamount to high levels of demand being undeserved with low
level of telecommunications service. The author concludes by stating that
mobile telephony offers an attractive solution to many poor individuals
and communities due to its general accessibility, collective ownership and
flexible payment options
The EIGTH article, “Wiring Sub-Saharan Africa for Development” by
Tokunbo Ojo is an experience of Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of
tele-center usage in rural sector. The first part of the article focuses on the
Telecentre projects sponsored by various international organizations in
Sub-Saharan region. The second part of the article gives an account of
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) established
telecentre project in Nakaseke (a rural area in Uganda, east Africa)
Multipurpose community telecentre. The author concludes that, Nakaseke
tele-centres are meant to close the inequality in terms of age, gender,
educational qualification and socio-economic status.
The NINETH article “Rural Schools as Regional Centres of e-learning
and the Management of Digital Knowledge: The Case of Newfoundland
and Labrador” is by Ken Stevens. It focuses on small schools in rural
Canadian communities which have had a special role in the development
of e-learning and the management of digital knowledge within
customized electronic educational structures. This article examines the e-
learning centers in two rural areas of Canada: Newfoundland and
Labrador. It has clearly shown that the introduction of e-learning has
changed the nature of education in rural Newfoundland and Labrador in
two important aspects. The first aspect is that, rural e-learning has opened
the opportunity to study on-line for rural student communities and
secondly, the possibility of enrollment in advanced placement (AP)
courses has increased in rural parts of Canada. This great success made
the government of Canada extend the same strategy to other parts of rural
Canada. The new type of education in rural Newfoundland and Labrador

has emerged as an open model and challenges the closed model of
schooling by questioning the need for appointing teachers in schools.
The TENTH article “Impact of the Insertion of Modern Information and
Communication Technologies in Brazilian Rural Communities” is co-
authored by Marco A Figueiredo, Mauro A Câmara and Roberta E Sabin.
It describes “Gems of the Earth”, a rural community telecentre project
currently in development, in a poor rural region of Brazil. The study
analyzes the impact of the telecenters on the lives of rural communities.
This article also provides usage statistics of online knowledge bank,
which was created to be integrated in cyberspace, the efforts of the
communities and the network management organization. The Gems of the
Earth methodology was designed to allow communities to first realize the
potential of ICT to bring them economic and social development. Once
the community is convinced of the telecentre potential, the Gems of the
earth network works with them to build a telecentre and provide for its


Chapter 3


ITC e-choupal is one of the step taken by the ITC so as to support farmers
of INDIA to not only grow the crops but also assist them in selling the
yield. Since in India most of the population is indulge in the farming and
70% of them are not having adequate knowledge of various condn.
Related to the crop.

And since ITC e-choupal is the newly step taken by the ITC so most of
the farmers and the person related to agricultural industry does not know
about this so we in this report are trying to cover whole functioning of
ITC e-choupal with the benefits and the challenges faced by the ITC in
implementing this and together with this the financial analysis of the ITC
and also how the decision taking ability of the farmers have changed with
the help of ITC e-choupal


Chapter 4


The objectives of our study are:-

1. Understanding e-Choupal concept which, implement in practical

market by ITC Ltd

2. Understand all activities as well as challenges, problems and

solutions and various roll act in e-Chaupal.

3. To study the impact of ITC’s e-choupals on Decision making

Ability of Farmers Related to Agricultural Practices.


Chapter 5


In this report we tried to find what is the basic model of the Itc e-choupal,
how it work and what is the impact of e-choupal on the decision taking
ability of the farmer related to the crops. In this report we saw how there
was a traditional system because of which the complete cost of the yield
were not given to the farmers and they were in the debts for long time.
And not only this the other information regarding weather conditions,
new technologies, new fertilizers, other important data which can help
them for the growth for not only crop but also the growth of the farmers.
There are benefits of the e-choupal which are enjoyed by the farmers. But
there are many challenges which are faced by the ITC regarding the
installment of the system, resistance from the middle man is also one of
the challenge faced by the ITC because the commission of the middle
man which they were getting by buying the crop of the farmer at low cost
and selling them in the market at high cost. There are many other
problem faced by the ITC like teaching farmer how to operate computer
and internet.
The electricity and net access which are not there in the villages which
also create hindrance to the work of ITC. The different ratio of the
finances are also calculated by us which shows how there is increase in
the profitability of the ITC.

The share price or the different ratio also helps us to determine the
liquidity of the company and the comparison of the company with the

ITC in conjunction with local farmers created the e-choupal system that is
acting as a catalyst in rural transformation by providing access to latest
information of the agro sector, developing local leadership and creating a
profitable distribution. It helps in alleviating rural isolation, improves
productivity and income, create transparency for farmers - which
improves the economic condition of rural areas. This paper tries to
identify the problem of mandi, need of e-choupal and challenges in
development of e-choupal and derives with various conclusion and
suggestions in ‘future strategy’ from initial finding and discusses
direction for further investigation.

They have also made their websites in different – different languages so

that the farmers can easily access them and the software installed is also
very user friendly. The step taken by ITC also made this company a
company which is thinking not only for the profit of the company but also
for helping the people of INDIA and specially the farmers of INDIA
which constitute a lot to the society and to the economy of the country
directly or indirectly.


Chapter - 6


ITC is one of India's foremost private sector

companies with a market capitalization of nearly US $ 18
billion and a turnover of over US $ 5.1 Billion. ITC is rated
among the World's Best Big Companies, Asia's 'Fab 50'
and the World's Most Reputable Companies by Forbes
magazine, among India's Most Respected Companies by
BusinessWorld and among India's Most Valuable
Companies by Business Today.ITC ranks among India's `10
Most Valuable (Company) Brands', in a study conducted by
Brand Finance and published by the Economic Times.ITC
also ranks among Asia's 50 best performing companies
compiled by Business Week. ITC has a diversified presence
in Cigarettes, Hotels, Paperboards & Specialty Papers,
Packaging, Agri-Business, Packaged Foods &
Confectionery, Information Technology, Branded Apparel,
Personal Care, Stationery, Safety Matches and other FMCG
ITC's diversified status originates from its corporate
strategy aimed at creating multiple drivers of growth
anchored on its time-tested core competencies:
unmatched distribution reach, superior brand-building
capabilities, effective supply chain management and
acknowledged service skills.Over time, the strategic forays
into new businesses are expected to garner a significant

share of these emerging high-growth markets in India.ITC
is one of the country's biggest foreign exchange earners
(US $ 3.2 billion in the last decade). The Company's 'e-
Choupal' initiative is enabling Indian agriculture
significantly enhance its competitiveness by empowering
Indian farmers through the power of the Internet. This
transformational strategy, which has already become the
subject matter of a case study at Harvard Business School,
is expected to progressively create for ITC a huge rural
distribution infrastructure, significantly enhancing the
Company's marketing reach.
ITC was the first company in India to voluntarily seek
a corporate governance rating.ITC employs over 24,000
people at more than 60 locations across India. The
Company continuously endeavors to enhance its wealth
generating capabilities in a globalizing environment to
consistently reward more than 3,75,000 shareholders,
fulfill the aspirations of its stakeholders and meet societal

BCG Matrix

H FMCG- Others
P Packaging.
Agri business
Maybe ITC Infotech.

ITC is one of India's biggest and best-known private

sector companies. In fact it is one of the World's most high
profile consumer operations. Its businesses and brands are
focused almost entirely on the Indian markets, and despite
being most well-known for its tobacco brands such as Gold
Flake, the business is now diversifying into new FMCG
(Fast Moving Consumer Goods) brands in a number of
market sectors.

ITC leveraged it traditional businesses to develop new
brands for new segments. For example, ITC used its
experience of transporting and distributing tobacco
products to remote and distant parts of India to the
advantage of its FMCG products.

The company's original business was traded in tobacco.
ITC stands for Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited.
It is interesting that a business that is now so involved in
branding continues to use its original name, despite the
negative connection of tobacco with poor health and
premature death. To fund its cash guzzling FMCG start-up,
the company is still dependant upon its tobacco revenues.
Cigarettes account for 47 per cent of the company's
turnover, and that in itself is responsible for 80% of its
profits. So there is an argument that ITC's move into FMCG
(Fast Moving Consumer Goods) is being subsidised by its
tobacco operations. Its Gold Flake tobacco brand is the
largest FMCG brand in India - and this single brand alone
hold 70% of the tobacco market.

ITC is moving into new and emerging sectors including
Information Technology, supporting business solutions.

The obvious threat is from competition, both domestic and
international. The laws of economics dictate that if
competitors see that there is a solid profit to be made in
an emerging consumer society that ultimately new
products and services will be made available. Western
companies will see India as an exciting opportunity for
themselves to find new market segments for their own
ITC's opportunities are likely to be opportunities for other
companies as well. Therefore the dynamic of competition
will alter in the medium-term. Then ITC will need to decide
whether being a diversified conglomerate is the most
competitive strategic formation for a secure future.

In India, three major cigarette players dominate the
market, primarily ITC with 72% market share, Godfrey
Phillips with 12% and VST with 8% share of the market.



Business model

The e-choupal business model

The model is centred on a network of e-choupal, information centres
equipped with computer connected to the Internet, locating in rural
farming villages. e-choupal serves as choupal (gathering place) and an e-
commerce hub. A local farmer acting as a Sanchalak (coordinator) runs

the e-choupal and the computer usually is located in the sanchalak’s
home. ITC also incorporated a local commission agent known as the
Samyojak (collaborator), into the system as the provider of logistical

The critical element of the e-choupal system and the key to managing the
geographical and cultural breath of ITC’s network by recruiting a local
farmer is the sanchalak. Sanchalak create trust in society and all
infrastructure set up is made in his house. Sanchalak receives commission
for every transaction processed through the e-choupal and also benefited
from increased social status that accompanies the position – a significant
advantage in rural Indian life. Sanchalak act as public officer in

ITC project. Sanchalak also aggregates farmers input as well as purchase

orders. Sanchalak undergoes training of basic computer usage, basic
business skills, quality inspection of crop product training etc. The
samyojak or cooperating commisssion agents also play important role. He
earn income by providing logistical services that substitute for the lack of
rural infrastructure by providing information and market signals on
trading transaction. Samyojak is involved in ongoing operation of e-
choupal system, allowing them revenue streams through providing
services such as management of cash, bagging & labour at procurement
hubs, handling of mandi paperwork as licensed principals for the retail
transaction of the e-choupal.

ITC has plans to saturate the sector in which it works with e-choupals,
such that a farmer has to travel no more than 5kms. The company expects
each e-choupal to serve about

Conventional transaction vs. e-choupal

Cost Conventional e-choupal


Trolley Freight 100 NIL

Filling & Weighing 70 NIL

Labour Khadi Karai 50 NIL

Handling loss 50 NIL

Sub total 270 NIL

Processor Incurs - Commission 100 50


Cost of Bag 75 NIL

Labour (Stitching & loading) 35 NIL

Labour at factory (Unloading) 35 35

Freight to factory 250 100

Transit Losses 10 NIL

Sub Total 505 185

Grand Total 775 185

As percent of produce value 8 percent 2 percent

The e-choupal system

The previous day’s mandi closing price is used to determine the
benchmark Fair Average Quality (FAQ) price at the e-choupal, which is
static for a given day. The information of mandi price is communicated
through e-choupal portal. If and when connection fails, sanchalak calls an
ITC field representative. To initiate a sale the farmer brings a sample of
his produce to the e-choupal. The sanchalak performs the quality test in
the farmer’s presence & must justify any deduction to the farmer. These
simple checks and balances ensure transparency in a process where
quality testing and pricing happens at multiple levels. If the farmer
chooses to sell his produce to ITC, the sanchalak gives him a note
capturing his name, his village, quality test report, approx. quantity and
conditional price. The farmer takes the note from sanchalak and proceeds
with his crop to the nearest ITC procurement hub. Some procurement
hubs are simply ITC’s factories that also act as collection points.

ITC’s goal is to have a processing centre with a 30 to 40 kms radius of

each farmer. At the ITC hub, a sample of the farmer’s produce is taken
and set aside for laboratory test. Laboratory testing of the sample for oil
content is performed after the sale & does not alter the price. The reason
for this is that farmers having historically being exploited are not
immediately willing to trust a laboratory test. After such inspection, the

farmer’s cart is weighed on an electronic weighbridge, first with the
produce and then without produce. The difference is used to determine
the weights of his produce. After weighing, the farmer collects his
payment in full at the payment counter. The farmer is also reimbursed for
transporting his crop to the procurement hub.

Every stage of the process is accompanied by appropriate documentation.

The farmer is given copy of lab reports, agreed rates and receipts for his
record. Sanyojaks, who are adept at handling large amount of cash, are
entrusted with the responsibility of payment except at procurement
centres. Samyojaks also handle much of the hub logistics, including
labour management at hub, bagging, storage mgmt., transportation from
hub to factors and handling mandi paperwork for the crops procured at
the hub and for all this he is paid a 0.5 percent commission.


Chapter :- 8



Benefits of e-choupal

“A quiet digital revolution is reshaping the lives of farmers in remote

Indian villages.”

e-choupal delivers real-time information and customized knowledge to
farmer’s decision making ability, securing better quality & price. The e-
choupal initiative also creates a direct marketing channel, eliminating
wasteful intermediation and multiple handling, thus reducing transaction
cost and making logistics efficient.

• Digital transformation - ITC began e-choupal with Soya grower in

the villages of M.P. e-choupal tried to change the stereotype image
of farmers of bullock cart. Farmers now log on to the site through
internet kiosks to order high quality input, get information on best
farming practices, prevailing market prices for their crops at home
and abroad for the weather forecast all in the local language. The e-
choupal site is also helping the farmers discover the best price of
their quality at the village itself. The site also provides farmers
with specialized knowledge for customizing their produce to the
right consumer segments. The new storage and handling system
preserves the identity of different varieties right through the ‘farm
gate to dinner plate’ supply chain. Thus, encouraging the farmers to
raise their quality standards and attract higher price.
• Credit and Insurance - Farmers’ low income and difficulty in
accessing credit limits the capacity to pursue opportunities within
and outside the agriculture sector. ITC e-choupal proposes the
solution of this problem by making partnership with financial
institutions. e-choupal provide various types of loans like non-cash
loans for farm inputs, loans to sanchalak (sanchalak can better
manage credit risk & have better access to farmers), direct loans to
farmers based on sanchalak recommendation, Insurance & risk
management services etc.
• Local leadership development - ITC uses involvement of farmers
in content creation helps to easily customize the information as per
the local requirements. Participation of local farmers ensures
provision of adequate and decipherable information to e-choupal,
which can be employed into the farming, or pricing of the produce.
The increased participation in e-choupal develops local leadership
quality in farmers. The farmers get attracted towards e-choupal due
to increased profits, added services that he could get, saving in
time and the ability to use e-choupal for many transactions. e-
choupal delivers relevant technologies in the hands of the farmers,
which can improve the economic condition of the entire village. e-
choupal is one of the very few ICT projects in India that has
effectively utilized e-commerce transactions for poverty
alleviation. ICT also reduced the number of middlemen between
producers and consumers. Now, simple technology solutions are

available to create networks in rural areas, which can function as
virtual marketplaces.

e-choupal at a glance

States covered 9 States [M.P., Haryana, Uttaranchal,

Karnataka, A.P., U.P., Maharashtra,
Rajasthan and Kerala]

Village covered 36,000

e-choupal info kiosks 6,400

Empowered e-farmers 3.5 million

Other benefits to farmers

Farmers are reimbursed for transport to the procurement hub of e-

The transaction time at the ITC hub is also much faster than mandi.

ITC has given recognition to integral partner in the supply process & not
mere as agricultural producer and thus elevating the level of respect of
farmers. Similarly providing shaded seating area while waiting for their
paperwork shows ITC really care for farmers.

Cost and revenue Stream

e-choupal has been successful. It has reduced the cost of procurement and
the cost of transit and the material handling cost. Procurement transaction
costs are reduced from the industry standard of 8 percent (farmers incurs
3 percent and the processor incurs 5 percent) to 2 percent (with farmer
saving all his 3 percent, and the processor ITC – saving 3 percent).

The total cost incurred on the initiatives so far has been Rs.50 million
(Rs.35 million as capital cost towards computers and other hardware at
the kiosks as well as central servers and Rs.15 million revenue
expenditure incurred towards portal development, people overhead etc.).
But ITC has gain benefit Rs. 20 million, which is the equivalent of full
investment on 40 percent of the Choupals (Kiosks). In terms of future
revenue, the outflow is 52.1 million in 2001-02 which reduces to 3.90

million in 2005-2006 and for 2006-07 is estimated as 2.70 million. Where
as inflow in 2001-02 is 15.3 million where as 65.0 million in 2005-2006
and estimated as 85.0 million in 2006-2007. The internal rate of return
(IRR) on the project works out to be 21.55 percent.

In the mandi system, there was a mark up of 7-8 percent on the price of
soybean from the farm gate to the factory gate of this mark-up 2.5 percent
was born by the farmer while 5 percent was borne by ITC with e-choupal,
ITC cost are down to 2.5 percent. In absolute terms, both the farmers and
ITC save about $ 6 per metric ton.

As the power is usually available for only a few hours a day at on a
sporadic schedule, the e-choupal computer cannot always be accessed
when information is needed. Phase imbalances leads to damage of
equipments. Telecommunication infrastructure in villages is poor.
Telephone exchange also have limited battery backup. In addition, there
is no local support staff to maintain or troubleshoot telephone exchanges.
The support team is also short-staffed.

Other challenges are: -

• Illiteracy about computer in rural areas as well as rural population

has low trust on electronic system.
• Selection of an educated, intelligent, reliable and matured person
as a sanchalak.
• Improper knowledge about rural market.
• Vicious circle of intermediaries (Adatiya & Brokers).
• Improper and complex user interface on e-choupal.
• Lack of rules and regulation related to electronic choupal.
• Mistrust about inspection, testing and weighing of produce on

ITC’s example show the key role of IT in providing and maintaining by a

corporation, but used by local farmers – to bring transparency, to increase
access to information, and to catalyze rural transformation, while
enabling efficiencies and low cost distribution that make the system
profitable and sustainable . Critical factors in the apparent success of the
venture are ITC’s extensive knowledge of agriculture, the effort ITC has
made to retain many aspects to the existing production system, including
retaining the integral importance of local partners. ITC e-choupal is

committed to transparency and respect and fairness towards farmers as
well as local partners.

The author is currently working as Assistant Professor in an MBA college

in Pune (NIFEM). She is an M.Phil - University topper from DAVV,
Indore, MP and is currently pursuing her PhD on e-Governance under the
guidance of Prof. (Dr.) Pankaj Trivedi.

The eChoupal advantage

ITC's eChoupal project is a winner—for farmers who get
better remuneration and for the company that's assured
quality inputs for its business

Imagine an illiterate farmer in a remote village in Madhya

Pradesh sitting at a desktop wired up to the WWW through
a small VSAT link, powered by a tiny power generator by
the side, and surfing away to glory downloading invaluable
information about weather forecasts and sowing trends.

Imagine farmers checking prices for soya beans at the

nearest government-run market, or even on an
international commodities exchange. “A few years ago
such a scenario would have seemed outlandish but today
it’s a reality,” says V V R Babu, CIO, ITC (eChoupal

IT for the Masses

The eChoupal project covers over 35,000 villages in

Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka,
Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttaranchal
providing millions of farmers with critical information on
farming. The Choupal services are being delivered by over
6,000 Sanchalaks and over 17,000 Upa Sanchalaks to
these remotest areas.

Multiple Benefits
Farmers can look at weather forecasts, order fertiliser and
herbicide, and consult an agronomist by e-mail when their
crops turn yellow. At some eChoupals they can even buy

life insurance, apply for loans and also check their
children’s exam results.

While much has been written about the social benefits of

ITC’s eChoupal, the matter of the fact is that the project
was conceptualised with a pure business focus to create
farmer communities in villages to facilitate sourcing of
high-quality farm produce for the company’s fast growing

Better Payment
In IT parlance, eChoupal is an intelligent blend of
applications like CRM and supply chain management. For
instance, by helping the farmer identify and control his
inputs and farming practices, and by paying more for
better quality, ITC has been able to preserve the source
and improve the quality of produce.

The project was built using .NET. The first implementation

of a Soya Choupal took eight months but later extensions
like the Aqua Choupal for aquamarine farmers took
between six and eight weeks.

Today eChoupal is a flexible, easy to deploy solution. ITC

Infotech provided an in-house team of 25 to 30 people in
the initial stage and this gradually came down to around
20 people, and finally a five-member team to maintain the

The portfolio of commodities sourced has been vastly

expanded to include maize, barley, sorghum, and pulses,
and the sourcing cycle is extended almost around the
year. In the commodities market, these two factors are
helping ITC create a definite competitive advantage.

The Problems
“Initially we thought that we would work with DoT to
upgrade rural telephone exchanges. The department was
proactive in upgrading many rural exchanges to electronic
ones. After 15 months we found that the experience was
not satisfactory,” explained Babu.

Power cuts in rural areas can run for eight to 10 hours. ITC
even went so far as to provide gensets at a few locations
hoping to spur DoT to doing the same. It didn’t work out
and in 2001 ITC shifted its focus to using Ku Band VSATs.
Power remained a problem and it was solved by using
solar panels.

The EChoupal Roadmap

ITC now plans to leverage its eChoupal infrastructure to
sell third-party products, provide rural market research
services, and in the social sector, to provide services like
health advisories and enable e-governance.

ITC eChoupal has embarked in on providing best of the

class retailing and shopping experiences to the rural
consumers by building retail shopping complexes that
provide integrated facilities under one roof. Under the
brand ‘Choupal Sagar,’ these shopping complexes house—
a procurement centre, retail store, food court, farmer
facility centre and healthcare clinic.

In healthcare services, a pilot project has been launched

along with leading corporate healthcare service providers,
to extend reliable and quality healthcare services to the
remotest villages. Several health camps conducted during
the pilots are encouraging and the project is in the midst
of scaling up to other locations.

ITC eChoupal is currently piloting delivery of quality

education services to the rural areas leveraging the
physical and digital infrastructure developed for
commodities sourcing and consumer retail services.




Ratio Analysis

A) Liquidity Analysis

Working Capital: Higher the current assets of a company

and lower the current liabilities, greater is the working capital.
A larger chunk of working capital can be used to fund the long
term liabilities of the company and therefore, the larger the
working capital, the better it is for the company.

The following table gives the working capital of the three

companies under consideration for the three year period.

Figure 1

Working Capital

(In Rs.Capital
-5000.00 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

It is evident that ITC is by far the best company (among the

three) in terms of building up its net current assets. The
company is increasingly using its short term funds to pay for

the long term liabilities. HLL on the other hand is deteriorating
in quality and is gradually getting overburdened by increasing
pressures due to a negative working capital.

Current Ratio:

The reason why the ratio increases mainly is because of a

more than proportionate increase of the Current Assets
when compared to the Current Liabilities.

The graph below shows the comparison of ITC vis-à-vis the

other two competitors chosen in the market. We observe that
in the year 2004-5, Marico had the best Current Ratio but
gradually, with a rapid growth in the current assets of ITC, it
has come at par with the leaders with the falling trend in the
industry (as shown by the other two companies) in the sector.

Figure 2

Current Ratio


2.00 2.02
1.50 1.56 1.55
Ratio 1.15
1.00 0.95
0.73 0.75

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

Liquidity Ratio:

Also, when compared to the companies, while the current ratio

for Marico and ITC converges, the gap is more or less the
same for liquidity ratio. This implies that the company as been
maintaining a huge amount of inventories (unlike Marico,
whose inventory amount is almost constant) that form a part
of the company’s current assets. The graph below defines the
analysis presented here.

Figure 3

Liquid Ratio

0.64 0.67
Ratio 0.55
0.40 0.43 0.4 0.41


2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

Absolute Cash Ratio:

Marico reflects a phenomenal growth in possessing liquid

assets to finance its current liabilities. Though, it is to be
noted that ITC too shows a more than 100% increase in the
absolute ratio. The company is catching up with the leader
(among the three) and is therefore on a good growth path.

Figure 4

Absolute Cash Ratio


1.00 0.98

0.60 0.61
Ratio 0.48 0.51
0.40 0.42
0.28 0.31

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

Inventory days:

The following graph gives a comparative performance of the

company in the sector. Both HLL an ITC have experienced a
fall in the inventory days due to larger sales and larger cost of
the goods sold. Also, both companies have maintained a
larger and larger stock of inventories over the three year
period, every subsequent year. Marico on the other hand has
shown more that a 50% increase in sales in the three tear

frame but has still maintained almost the same amount of
inventories every year for its operations.

Figure 5

Inventory Days

45000.00 195.00

40000.00 191.51
25000.00 180.00
20000.00 175.94 175.00
In 15000.00
Rs. Million 170.71 Inventory Days
5000.00 177.07
132.79 230.49
0.00 160.00
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07
Ye a r

Inventories COGS per day Inventory Days

B) Solvency Analysis
Debt-Equity Ratio:

Across the industry, it has been observed that there is a

similar sort of a mix and match. While HLL funds its operations
from lower and lower loans every year, Marico feels that a
tradeoff between usage of capital and usage of loans needs to
be done. Increasingly, the latter is funding its operations
through more and more debt, possibly because of a lesser
cost of the same.

The graph below interprets the results written above.

Figure 6

Debt-Equity Ratio

1.2000 1.3046

0.8000 0.7030
0.4000 0.3030
Debt-Equity Ratio
0.2000 0.0247 0.0267
0.0309 0.0187
0.0000 0.0158
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

Interest Coverage Ratio:

ITC Limited is by far the biggest “gainer” in terms of the

interest coverage ratio. While HLL also intends to be a self
funded company by letting off its loans from the open market,
ITC follows somewhat the same strategy thereby leading to an
increment in the Interest coverage for both. Also, while the
increase in the interest coverage for HLL is about 1287%, the
ITC Group shows a fabulous 1772% increment in the interest
coverage ratio in three years. On the other hand, Marico
Limited uses more and more debt to fund its operation
resulting in a lower interest coverage ratio when compared to
oneself two years back!

Figure 7

Interest Coverage Ratio




400.00 174.50
200.00 64.00 84.61
Interest Coverage Ratio
38.15 8.29
12.58 20.60
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

C) Profitability

PBIT (Operating Income) to Sales:

Other companies in the segment have experienced a similar

trend in the ratio defined above. While for Marico, the ratio
rose from 7.6% to about 11%, the PBIT figure for HLL is about
14.25% of the Sales. Overall, ITC has the highest return on the
investment, if measured by this parameter.

Figure 8

PBIT-Sales Ratio

0.200 0.199 0.198

0.150 0.140
0.100 0.110
0.050 Ratio

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

PAT to Sales:

Across companies in the industry, the PAT-Sales ratio has

shown a trend that hovers around the same value. Companies
like HLL and Marico maintain a constant ratio for their
company of about 11.1% and 7.2% respectively. This could be
because of the increasing tax that the company has to bear
with from the second year of consideration.

Figure 9

PAT-Sales Ratio

0.180 0.161
0.135 0.136
0.120 0.115
0.100 0.107 0.110
0.080 0.070
0.060 0.076
0.040 Ratio
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

Earnings per share: (EPS):

The earnings per share of ITC and Marico and ITC have
drastically fallen over the last three years. This is because
there has been a stock split in both cases that has brought
down the face value of the shares in the market resulting
thereby in an increment in the number of equity shares
available for trade. Therefore, despite an increase in the total
earnings offered by the company, the earnings per share fall
drastically. On the other hand, the number of shares of HLL in
the market remains steady and the earnings (PAT) increases
every year. This therefore results in an increment in the
earnings when considered in per share terms.

Figure 10


16.000 14.979

8.000 6.977
EPS 5.448
2.000 0.883
0.060 0.072 1.854
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

Dividend per share:

ITC Limited and Marico over the last few years have
experienced a huge fall in the dividend distributed per share
because of reasons mentioned above. The earnings per share
for the third company, HLL, shows an increase in the dividend
distributed per share owing to the increasing dividend paid by
the management to the shareholders.

Figure 11



5.000 5.350

3.000 2.500

2.000 2.500

1.000 0.312
0.026 0.031 0.641
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

D) Market Based Returns

Price-Earning Ratio (PER):

The industry has altogether shown an increase in the Price-

Earnings ratio. It is observed that in the last three years, the
value of P/E has risen for all the three companies, whether or
not the company has gone in for a stock split. Among the
three, Marico has experienced the highest increment in the
ratio (in absolute terms), after ITC Limited itself. The following
graph reflects the trend in the ratio that has been observed in
these three companies over the last three years.

Figure 12

P/E Ratio

35.000 32.674 33.063

30.000 26.339 32.056 31.038


20.000 20.957

P/E Ratio
2.009 3.604
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

Market Capitalization:

Across companies too, the market capitalization has shown a

net increase representing a good growth component in the
sector and the confidence of the buyers who continue to buy
the stocks of such companies. HLL and Marico have
consistently shown an increase in the market capitalization for
the years under consideration. This is graphically depicted as

Figure 13

Market Capitalization

800000.00 732070.00
334330.00 477877.36
400000.00 434195.34
In Rs. Million 315878.48
100000.00 37331.70
1409.40 3130.84
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

Price Book Ratio:

Across companies, ITC Limited rates poorly for the Price Book
Ratio. In fact, while Marico shows a stupendous performance
for the three years reflecting a 2887% increase in the PB ratio,
ITC reports only a meager 26% increase. Also, HLL reports a
16% increment in the ratio, but still manages to hold its
position at the second level pushing ITC to the lowest figure in
the industry when compared across the other two companies.

Figure 14

PB Ratio


20.00 19.41
15.09 18.83 17.55

Ratio 7.87

5.00 4.18 5.26

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

ITC Marico HLL

Agri business and e-choupal

ITC is India’s second-largest exporter of agricultural commodities and
has a significant presence in soya, wheat, rice and marine products. The
company is likely to procure about Rs38 bn worth of agricultural
commodities in FY08E, used for exports, domestic trading and in-house
consumption (split roughly equally). The procurement of certain
commodities like soya and wheat has almost entirely moved into the
choupal network. As ITC deals directly with farmers, it is also in a
position to influence the variety and strain of the produce, gradually
educating and giving incentives to farmers to move to profitable ones.
Gradually, ITC plans to expand the portfolio of products being sourced.
Currently, ITC sources 13 commodities (11 bulk dry commodities, coffee
and aquaculture). While scaling up the existing business, ITC plans to
enter the horticulture market as well, focusing on a portfolio of 20
vegetables and 10 fruits. This growth in agricultural sourcing should help
not only the trading business but also in building cost advantages for the
processed foods business. For example, ITC could ITC is likely to
procure procure almost 10% of India’s total soya production (15% in the
state it operates in, which in turn accounts for over 60% of India’s
production), thereby giving ITC considerable clout with the trade.

Sourcing advantage

ITC has built on its sourcing scale to establish an enabling infrastructure,

called e-choupal. ITC’s choupal network gives the company tremendous

control over quality and cost of the commodities being bought. Since ITC
buys directly from the farmers, it is in a position to track the source of the
produce and manage future procurement accordingly. The resultant
quality control is likely to enable ITC to have a better control over
allocation of the commodity to trade and internal consumption. The
traceability should also allow ITC to address food safety concerns and
once again provide a value that the customer is willing to pay for. This
would, in turn, lead to better realisations for the farmers as well, as ITC
would then command a traceability premium. For example, ITC uses
different varieties of wheat for sale in southern and northern India and has
control over the source of the wheat. The direct savings, due to
procurement from the choupal network, are about 5%, in our view. The
savings are shared between the farmer and the company, which in turn
uses the savings to fund the infrastructure investments. The employees
who run the network are given incentives through the commission that
the network earns on the procurement. The farmer is likely to find it
easier to justify switching from the traditional mandis (wholesale market)
to choupal as their effective realisation (per tonne) increases significantly
and is also paid instantaneously (the resultant cash disbursement cost is
borne by the company). We note that the savings from the elimination of
unscrupulous practices (like tampered meters) are likely to be competed
away over time, as the mandis install electronic meters (as they have
already done in many states). However, the benefits will still be
substantial for the farmer to switch to ITC choupal. The savings on
disintermediation are likely to be far higher in the case of horticulture.
The intermediation cost on perishable horticulture is estimated to be over
200%, compared to The direct savings, due to procurement from the
choupal network, are about 5% The savings are shared between the
farmer and the company, which in turn uses the savings to fund the
infrastructure investments. The employees who run the network are given
incentives through the commission that the network earns on the
procurement. The farmer is likely to find it easier to justify switching
from the traditional mandis (wholesale market) to choupal as their
effective realisation (per tonne) increases significantly and is also paid
instantaneously (the resultant cash disbursement cost is borne by the


Chapter :-10



ITC’s e-choupal model is based of co-creation of value. E-

Choupal physically consists of a computer with the
Internet connection. Farmers selectef from within the the
village community are trained and designed as
“Sanchalaks” who manage this Internet kiosks. The
computer is installed at Sanchalak’s residence. Between
sanchalak and ITC there is one more intermediary called
Sanyojak which look after 40 – 50 such choupals. The e-
choupal provides both tangible and intangible benefits to
the farrmrs. Under tangible benefits the farmer with the
help of a sanchalak may order varius agricultural inputs
(like seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides) and other product
like cycle and tractor online . ITC keep 2-3 supplier of each
product to ensure fair price and competition . These
centres also act as procurement centres and Sanchalak
purchases their product at market price , eliminating not
only need of traveling to distant Mandi but also the

interference of the intermediaries, thus reducing the cost
involved in the selling process. The intangible benefits
result from getting information regarding weather,
advance farming techniques, and other input to boost the
per hectare productivity, and to facilitate the flow of such
information, ITC has tied up with various agricultural

Mean values of benefits received and ability to take

decision Related to Agricultural Practices presently
and before Associated With ITC.


Profitable crop choices

good quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides
Use of modern farm implements
Safe storing agriculture produces

Weather Forecast
Expert advice on soil testing
Scientific plant protection method
Getting Agriculture input conveniently
Prediction of risk on agricultural practices well
in advance
Exchange/return of the adulterated agricultural inputs
Exposure to different field demonstration trainings

In order to test whether use of information and support

provided by ITC’s Choupal initiative has any impact on
Farmer’s decision making process related to improved
agricultural practices, comparison has been made
between Farmer’s status before and after association with
ITC. As evident from the table above , there is statistical
improvement in decision making ability of farmers on all
aspects of decision making related to farming after
association with ITC. Farmer’s decision taking ability has

increased greatly due to availabitlity of timely price –
related information regarding market price of produce
before selling, where as there is very little improvement
on What crop to grow? When to plant? And when to



The study examine the impact that ICT-enabled system for information
and services delieveries make on their end users. The results clearly
indicate that there is marked improvement in the decisionquality of
associated farmers on all aspects of value chain, right from agricultural

input selection to post – harvest management to final marketing of their
produce. In these days of cutthroat competition, on market trend
empowers farmers to make better decisions on all 18 aspects of farming
decision making. By proving solutions to specific queries of the farmers
regarding plant diseases and expert opinion on other problems related to
agriculture, ITC helps them to recognize the root cause of the problem.
Once the problem is identified , ITC helps the farmers by providing
information about the alternative courses of action, and thus an informed
consumer is in better state to evaluate the alternatives and make the
purchase decision.

The results also shows that the e-choupal helps farmers throughout the
production phase of the farming process. The farmers after association
with the e-choupal could take much better care of the crops, be it
scientific plant nutrition or protection method or farming methods
specific to each crop and region.




 The time factor was one of the limitation because of which more
analytical tools were not been used.

 There are several ICT enabled governance systems which share the
common objectives of empowering farmers to make right decision
related to farming practices. The study would have provided more
meaningful insight if users of other ICT enabled system were
compared with users of ITC’S E-CHOUPAL.



Web Resources:




 •C. R. Kothari ‘Research methodology’, vishwa publication, New Delhi.

 N. K. Malhotra ‘ Marketing Research’, pearson publication, Delhi