September 2011

CSCs: Bridging the Gap

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Through Common Service Centres (CSCs) a  whole range of services are already being offered and once the infrastructure is there in the remote areas, content and applications can be built on it in time

By Abhishek Singh,
Director-eGovernance, DIT, MCIT

The major problem in a vast nation like ours has been to reach the unreached. Thus, the basic objective behind the development of the CSC scheme has been to establish centers through which services can be delivered at remote places.

How do we ensure that the electronic services are reaching till the last mile? CSCs are an outlet to make these services available to all.  CSCs are nothing but kiosks which have ICT connectivity, infrastructure and trained manpower.

There are certain unique features of CSCs, one of them being the fact that they follow a strict public-private partnership model wherein Government doesn’t invest in hardware or software procurement or even manpower but invests on a service procurement model in which private sector earns by offering sustainable services. Government provides viability gaps for these partners also.

The CSC Scheme is the largest PPP project and telecenter project on a national level. Another feature that is unique to CSCs is that the stakeholders run across the spectrum from service providers, government to Village Level Entrepreneurs and finally common citizens.

Numbers Count

Around 95,000 centres have been already set up as against the originally planned 100,000. Although, reaching the target has neither been timely nor smooth but still the fact that there still is a satisfactory figure consoles the purpose. The rollout has been a gradual process. But is we look at the graph from 2007-11 it has been a steady, consistent growth.

Talking about the various services that are being offered through CSCs he said that whole range of services are already being offered and once the infrastructure is there in the remote areas, content and applications can be built on it in time.

Financial Inclusion is a critical service we are trying to provide through our CSCs by offering banking services and bill payment facilities. Telemedicine, women literacy, digital literacy, B2C services like mobile phone recharges, railway ticket booking, internet banking, downloading and submitting various government forms, photocopying, internet browsing, electricity bill payment
are some of the services being delivered through CSCs.

e-District: A novel initiative

The e-District project which is all about delivering the voluminous G2C services through CSCs. In two districts of Kerala, more than one lakh transactions have already been done in 6 months under the e-District project. One of the key issues, which is lack of G2C services will be taken care of by the e-District project.

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