We also offer annual plans which are 10x monthly price. That will make the price a bit cheaper.
As far as I know, Tally sells software only, they don’t provide hosting service. In other words, when using Tally in server-mode, you need to provide the server, have someone to maintain it, keep it up to date, take backups etc. You don’t have to do any of this with Manager Cloud.
If cloud edition is too expensive for you, it means it doesn’t provide enough value for you to justify the cost. In that case you can continue using desktop edition. It doesn’t really matter that you have multiple business locations. People working at those locations can give you figures at the end of each day which you can then input into Manager. They don’t need to use Manager themselves.
All editions of Manager are multi-company. You can have as many different businesses as you want. So your modes #1 and #2 do not and will not exist. And #1 is not what you say you need.
As you have described your situation, you want multi-user capability. Each branch would be a different user. So you need to purchase either the server or cloud edition. Since it does not seem you have your own IT staff or equipment to run a server, the cloud edition is your only choice. Once you subscribe to that, it makes no difference how many locations or users you have. You could have one traveling bookkeeper who logs in as the same user from every location. Or you could have 50 people at 50 locations working simultaneously online.
Currently which price you asks for the latest released of manager software is not justifiable, as we have still have to create some manual bills due to required standard formates and GST reverse charge as well as GST returns etc.
Although I hope once you developed the manager up to the requirement in India, we could be one of your customer.