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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wipro-US firm team leads race for Rs 1,000-cr Mahila Bank deal

US-based FIS Global, in partnership with Wipro, is leading the race for a Rs 1,000-crore contract to provide IT systems at the country’s first women-focussed bank, it is reliably learnt.
Other major bidder

The five-year project entails setting up and managing a core banking application and other technology infrastructure for the Bhartiya Mahila Bank, a brainchild of the Government of India.

Infosys, which had partnered with IBM, was the other major bidder for this deal. The names of Polaris Financial Technology and HP too were doing the rounds, however this could not be corroborated. Much to the surprise of industry watchers, the country’s largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services did not bid for the project.

The FIS-Wipro combine is believed to have quoted Rs 900 crore for the project, while the others have bid upwards of Rs 1,100 crore. FIS Global, a provider of core banking solutions, is said to be the lead bidder for the project as Wipro does not have strong core banking capabilities.

Though the deal is in the final lap, sources say that some board members of the bank have expressed reservations against giving out to the contract to a non-Indian bidder. “Giving the project to a foreign company would mean opening up a sensitive sector in a sensitive model,” one of the officials said, adding that the project would be implemented under the ‘build-own-operate model’.

Under this model, the selected IT vendor would have the overall responsibility to procure, install and implement all the hardware, software and licences needed to start the bank's business, as per the request-for-proposal (RFP) floated by SBI Capital Markets on behalf of the bank.

Usha Ananthasubramanian, the first chief executive officer of Bhartiya Mahila Bank, could not be reached for comments despite multiple attempts.

Final call soon

The Finance Ministry is expected to take a final call on the bids in the next four weeks.

The selected vendor is expected to become the extended arm of the bank's IT division and work in collaboration with its various business units, it said in the RFP, a copy of which is available with Business Line.

In his Budget speech this year, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had announced that the government would establish a women's bank and provided for 1,000 crore as initial capital. The bank, set to be headquartered in Delhi, will start services with six branches from November 1.

Source: thehindubusinessline


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