The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report on the Commonwealth Games, has also pointed out issues with the way the delivery of Internet services was managed at the event, including issues with provisioning of WiFi services, lack of information on what happened data cards, and interestingly, that the leasing of laptops/computers was such that it amounted to 95% of the cost of buying them. It also points out a significant loss of opportunity when it came to new media rights, and gave details of the agreements with some of the businesses, including Smile of India, Times Internet Ltd, the KPMG-Smile consortium, among others.
Big Screen and New Media Rights: the CAG says that the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) failed to explot the market for commercial rights for Big Screens, as well as new media rights. It assigned big screen rights only for non-commercial purposes to Prasar Bharati in September 2010, “purportedly as it was separately exploring the possibility of exploiting the commercial big screen rights with a chain of theatres.” Only on 4th October 2010 did it permit Digital Signage Networks Limited (in response to its offer) to show information and pictures of the Games at 1000 locations in 22 cities, with a 50 per cent share of advertising revenue. However, no contract was signed, and “the agency informed OC that it could not generate any revenue.”
The CAG also said that the OC failed to exploit the commercial potential of new media rights. While international new media rights were awarded to international broadcasters, there were conflicts
between OC and Prasar Bharati on domestic rights. Finally, OC granted:
– mobile telephony new media rights on a non-exclusive basis to Prasar Bharati in September 2010
– Internet rights (Live Streaming) on nomination basis without revenue element to Times Internet in October
– Live Streaming of Games on mobile to Smile of India on nomination basis with a minimum guaranteed revenue of Rs. 5 lakh and revenue share of 35 percent of revenue accrued.
– Mobile infotainment rights on nomination basis to a KPMG- Smile India consortium, with a 10 per cent revenue share (subject to a guarantee of Rs. 5 lakh). However, no revenues were received till December 2010.
Awarding Contract To TCIL
The CAG has said that the appointment of Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL), a Public Sector Undertaking, was without any recorded justification as the turnkey implementation agency for telecom, IT and networking projects in October 2009, even though the Organizing Committee (OC) had a 139 strong technology team (excluding 4 consultants/advisors). Out of the 42 technology related contracts worth Rs 247 crores, only 12 contracts of Rs 92.17 crore (which it calls “grossly unjustified”) were awarded through TCIL, for which it was paid Rs 18.66 crore as commission and tax.
WiFi services in Games Village
The CWG OC did not involve TCIL to provide free Wi-Fi Internet service at the Games Village. Also, while the initial proposal was for WiFi in only some parts of the Games Village, the scope of work was extended significantly, and the cost increased from Rs.15 lakhs to Rs. 3.50 Crore. “Based on a single response received, the contract was awarded to Radius Infratel at a cost of Rs.2.75 crore. Incidentally, several complaints were received from international broadcasters about the non-functioning of Wi-Fi services and OC was compelled to provide for alternative services. OC stated that necessary deductions were being made for non performance.”
Data Cards for the media
The CWG OC procured 1400 data cards from Tata Teleservices and Reliance and took another 1264 data cards on lease from MTNL at a total cost of Rs. 0.8 crore, after wireless Internet access was barred for security reasons. Records of usage, distribution and return of these datacards are very scanty. Also, when some data cards did not function, OC had to make alternative arrangements.
Fixed Line Broadband for media
Tata Communications was given the work in September 2010 of providing high speed Internet bandwidth, for Rs. 11.28 crore. OC stated that this was resorted to when CERT guidelines disallowed Wi Fi services in media tribunes, and the option of datacards could not fulfil
this requirement. According to the OC, prior approval from financial authorities was not sought due to paucity of time.
IPTV for Games village
The report states that the CWG Organizing Committee awarded a contract for Rs. 0.60 crore on 21 September 2010 to Bharti Airtel for provision of IPTV. It points out that no reasons for the change from Cable TV were recorded, and records on whether the service was delivered were not available.
Procurement of Computer Hardware
3302 laptops were purchased/leased for Rs 9.80 crore in several batches from April to September 2010. Nearly 50 percent (1638) of these computers were leased, and the CAG could not find any documentation for the decision to lease vs purchasing. The Leased computers were always taken through TCIL, while purchases were done directly by OC. “The lease rent charged was 76 percent of the cost, and with an additional 9 per cent as commission and 10.33 per cent as leasing charges for TCIL, OC ended up paying 95 percent of the purchase cost of equipment. In addition, OC spent Rs. 2.92 crores for purchasing software licenses for these leased computers.”