India Philanthropy Report 2019 highlights the ‘Field Approach’ where non-profits, corporates, government and philanthropists have...
Investment opportunity #2: Providing shared infrastructure and technology to government and development actors
Case study: eGovernments Foundation supported by Nandan Nilekani Philanthropiesxiii
About the model: eGovernments (eGov) Foundation was established in 2003, by Nandan Nilekani and Srikanth Nadhamuni to solve hard-to-crack urban challenges. Using technology and collaborative solutions, eGov Foundation empowers the urban ecosystem across Samaaj (society), Sarkar (government) and Bazaar (market), enabling meaningful interaction across these three pillars.
It supports urban governance through its technology platform Digit, which enables efficient and effective municipal operations by urban-local bodies (ULBs). Digit is a set of open-source technologies and services, set up as a public good, which allows government entities, businesses, start-ups, and developers to use a unique, single-platform digital infrastructure to build solutions for urban India at a large scale. The end objective is to:
Impact and scaling potential: eGov’s public digital platform has scaled to 1,093 ULBs across 14 states, providing improved services to 120 million urban citizens. Systems created by eGov have currently logged approximately Rs. 14,250 Cr in revenue collections, 3 million grievances filed and 6.5 million properties registered with the ULBs. Additionally, according to a third-party survey of 354 citizens and 151 ULB employees in Andhra Pradesh in February 2018, 57% of citizens report that DIGIT has directly resulted in an improvement in their quality of life, while 100% of ULB employees report that DIGIT has improved their quality of work and ability to serve citizens.
Philanthropic spotlight: Beyond setting up the foundation and offering financial support, Nandan Nilekani continues to guide operations, and meets the eGov leadership monthly to discuss strategy and platform functionality. Implementing such large-scale results through a systems-level service and infrastructure provision for a sector as underserved as governance highlights the potential of philanthropy-backed systems solutions for India’s most vulnerable.