The network of Common Service Centres (CSCs) is to be expanded to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by the end of 2018, IT and Electronics Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Sunday. CSCs function as access points for delivery of digital services in the country. Inaugurating an event to showcase Dhanauri Kalan village in Gautam Budh Nagar as the sixth digital village in the country, Prasad said the CSC programme has transformed into a change agent by bringing services like banking, pensions, digital literacy, and telemedicine to rural and remote villages. "CSCs are working in 1.8 lakh gram panchayats and very soon it will reach 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by end of the year," he said. "About 700 digital villages will be established by the year-end," he added. According to a ministry release, positioned as strategic cornerstones of the Digital India programme, the CSC model has adopted six villages in the country in the pilot phase. DigiGaon, or Digital Village, is conceptualised as a connected village where citizens can avail various e-Services of the central and state governments, as well as private players, in rural and remote villages in the country, the IT Ministry said. "These digital villages have been equipped with solar lighting facility in their community center, LED assembly unit, sanitary napkin unit (with active participation on Asha and Anganwadi workers) and Wi-fi choupal (rural Wi-Fi infrastructure and a slew of suitable applications)," it said.A In the initial phase villages, Piyala and Dayalpur (Haryana), Chandankiyari East and Shivbabudih (Jharkhand) and Dhanauri Kalan and Sultanpur (Uttar Pradesh) have been chosen for the pilot project, the statement added.