Rs 6000 cr Central scheme on ‘rural service delivery centres’

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The Central Government in India, is actively considering a Rs 6000 crore scheme to set up Information Technology-driven 'rural service delivery centres' in 100,000 villages, a senior official of the Union Information Technology department said.


Addressing a press conference here on the eve of the ninth National e-Governance Conference starting tomorrow, Union IT Department Joint Secretary R Chandrashekhar said the project should be in place by 2007-end.


''This is going to an unprecedented programme in the world in the use of information technology tools for delivery of services to rural areas.'' Stating that it would be an ''entrepreneur-driven model'', Mr Chandrashekhar said the programme was estimated to create half a million jobs in the country.


The community centres, with broadband connectivity, computers, printers, photocopiers, faxes and other communication and IT tools.


Kerala IT secretary P H Kurien said the state had already successfully initiated a similar model in the form of the ''Akshaya'' centres in Malappuram district.


Talking of the three-day e-governance meet, Mr Sugadhan, Additional Secretary, Union Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievance, said the theme this time was ''Accelerating e-Governance: Collaborate, Replicate and Extend the Reach.'' Nearly 500 delegates from all states were expected to attend the conference, comprising 16 sessions and over 50 presentations.


These will include heads of various Central and state government departments, chief secretaries, IT secretaries and IT experts from the industry.


''With the citizen's ''right to know'' being recognised as a fundamental right, transparency in government was the need of the hour and the growth of the IT industry in India had provided the infrastructure whereby information on government policies and practices could be easily disseminated down to the grassroot level.'' While Kerala Works Minister M K Muneer would inaugurate the conference, State Governor R L Bhatia would address the concluding session.


A major highlight of the event would be the distribution of ''National Awards for Excellence in e-Governance'', Mr Sugadhan added.


The conference was being organised by the Union Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in collaboration with the Kerala State Information Technology Mission.

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