The network of Common Service Centres (CSCs), which act as access points for delivery of digital services, are set to be expanded to 2.50 lakh gram panchayats by the year-end, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Sunday. Prasad showcased Dhanauri Kalan village in Gautam Budh Nagar (UP) as the sixth digital village in the country and said that the CSC programme has transformed into a movement of change bringing services like banking, pensions, digital literacy, and telemedicine to rural and remote villages through electronic infrastructure.
“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,” Prasad said addressing an event to showcase a host of digital services that will now be available in the digital village. In all, as many as 2.91 CSCs operate in the country today. Positioned as strategic cornerstones of Digital India programme, the CSC model has adopted six villages in the country in the pilot phase. “About 700 digital villages will be established by the year-end,” Prasad told reporters here.
DigiGaon or Digital Village is conceptualised as a connected village where citizens can avail various e-Services of the Central Government, State Governments and private players in rural and remote villages in the country. These DigiGaons are projected to be change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods through community participation and collective action.
The 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). These villages would also have the regular CSC services like banking, health, education, financial services, and a host of other services. In the initial phase villages, Piyala and Dayalpur (in Haryana), Chandankiyari East and Shivbabudih (in Jharkhand) and Dhanauri Kalan and Sultanpur (in Uttar Pradesh) have been chosen for the pilot project.