IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Tuesday exhorted Common Services Centres – the government’s rural outreach programme for delivery of digital services – to aim for transaction business worth Rs 3 lakh crore in the next five years. CSCs act as access points for delivery of various services and there are 3.6 lakh such centres operating across the country today. At present, as much as Rs 70,000 crore worth of business is transacted through these centres which, apart from providing a platform for essential government and public utility services, also deliver a range of social welfare schemes, financial services, education and skill development courses, healthcare, agriculture services and digital literacy.
“In the next five years, I want CSCs to transact business worth Rs 3 lakh crore,” Prasad said addressing ‘CSC Diwas Celebration’. He added that the target set is “achievable” given network and service delivery track record of CSCs. The minister noted that the government intends to promote self help groups, and added that CSC could act as a catalyst for such a movement.
“I want self-help group movement in India through CSCs. There is no dearth of work for CSCs,” Prasad added. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan exuded confidence that CSCs would play a key role in building a ‘New India’. “In coming days, in LPG distribution, we will be adding a new avenue…point of sales…we will give priority to CSCs to be point of sales,” Pradhan said.
Last December, CSC and Oil Marketing Companies inked a pact for collaboration in LPG services. The two sides agreed to facilitate distributors to avail various services through these centres including booking new LPG connection (Ujjwala & General category), booking of LPG refills and supply and distribution of cylinders via CSCs.
During the event on Tuesday, a memorandum of understanding was signed between CSC and the Department of Telecom (DoT) under BharatNet project. “Under an agreement with Department of Telecommunications, CSC…will conduct first line maintenance of GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Networks) at gram panchayats and ensure last mile connectivity through Wi-Fi and fibre. The VLE will also be made the custodian of GPON equipment in panchayats under the partnership,” the release added.
In addition, the operation and maintenance of BharatNet fiber will be done through CSCs. CSC also exchanged MoU with Ministry of Agriculture facilitating access to Krishi Vikas Kendra services through CSCs. In addition, CSC Academy has partnered with Facebook to jointly design and develop a digital curriculum, and provide digital training to 2.5 lakh rural entrepreneurs in over 3,000 villages in India.
Under this, Facebook and CSC will provide training to 5,000 women Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) in ten states namely Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Bihar, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, the statement added.