August 2007

PPP investments planned for CSCs

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CSCs have been envisioned under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) as change agents which are going to change the socio-economic fabric of rural India. According to the Annual Report 2006-07 of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Department of Information Technology (DIT) has a annual plan budget of INR 1500 crore for the period 2007-08. Of the total amount of INR 1500 crore, INR 800 crore has been earmarked for Electronic Governance, which is almost 53 percent of the entire budget of the Department of Information Technology (DIT). Similarly, the figures for 2005-06 and 2006-07 are INR 300 crore (32.3 percent) and INR 440 crore (40.37 percent) respectively. This shows that e-Governance is the most prioritized area for intervention by the Government. Under the NeGP, the CSC scheme has been approved at a total cost of INR 5742 crore over 4 years.

For the CSC scheme,  the Government of India is estimated to contribute INR 856 crore, and the State Governments will contribute INR 793 crore. The balance resources (amounting to INR 4093 crore) would be mobilized from the private sector. Hence the CSCs scheme would be implemented in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Under the NeGP, the CSCs would be designed as ICT-enabled kiosks having a PC along with basic support equipment such as printer, scanner, UPS, with wireless connectivity as the backbone and additional equipment for edutainment, telemedicine, projection systems, etc. The Government has approved a scheme for establishing State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) across the country in 29 states/ 6 UTs at a total outlay of INR 3334 crore with Central Assistance component of INR 2005 crore over a period of 5 years, which is going to operationalize the CSCs. The Annual Plan 2007-08 of the Department of IT, reveals that of the INR 1500 crore, INR 238 crore (15.87 percent) has been allocated for R&D programmes and INR 884.70 crore (58.98 percent) has been allocated for infrastructure development. The Annual Plan 2006-07 of the Department of IT shows that of the INR 1090.00 crore, INR 218.50 crore (20.05 percent) has been allocated for R&D programmes and INR 530.10 crore (48.63 percent) has been earmarked for infrastructure development. The Annual Plan 2005-06 shows that of the INR 929.30 crore, INR 192.00 crore (20.66 percent) has been allocated for R&D programmes and INR 424.50 crore (48.68 percent) has been earmarked for infrastructure development. Hence it can be seen over the years that infrastructure development had been the focus of the Department of IT. Proposals  for 11 states have been sanctioned by the Empowered Committee at a total cost of INR 877.63 crore and the first installment of Government of India contribution of INR 109.71 crore has been released to these States. According to the Annual Report 2006-07, three states have floated the Request for Proposal (RFP) for selection of Service Centre Agencies (SCAs) and the other States are in the process of finalizing the RFPs.  

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