Common service centers have been set up for the facilities of villagers in all the panchayats of Chhattisgarh’s Balrampur district. Services like digital payment facilities, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), recharge etc, for which villagers had to travel long distances wasting their time and money, are now getting all these facilities at the Gram Panchayat level, says Awanish Kumar Sharan, District Magistrate, Balrampur, Chhattisgarh, in conversation with Susmriti Sahu of Elets News Network (ENN).
“District Balrampur is the first district in the State where common service centres were set up for the facilities of rural citizens. Rural masses started getting income, caste, residence certificate and other facilities at the village panchayat level only thereby saving them from undue inconvenience.”
What measures have been undertaken for the holistic development of Balrampur district?
We are trying to leverage technology in the fields of education and health. Smart classes are being introduced in every school at Gram Panchayat level. We are also establishing Common Service Centres in all the panchayats. For better medical care, video conferences are being arranged with doctors from across the country so that people of Balrampur can get best medical facilities.
How are you leveraging technology to provide e-governance at citizens’ doorstep?
Information Communication Technology (ICT) has the most impressive role in streamlining Government operations. It guarantees rapid response to citizens’ need, eliminating layers of Government management. Communication can be an empowering social process, and so is the access to information. Any ICT, therefore, has a considerable inherent empowerment potential.
Can you share some of the ICT initiatives undertaken by you to smoothen the operation of various departments?
We have undertaken important steps for connecting rural residents of the district with digital development by increasing their facilities digitally. Some of them are:
Common Service Centres (CSC)-
Common service centers have been set up for the facilities of villagers in all the panchayats of the district. Services like digital payment facilities,Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), recharge etc, for which villagers had to travel long distances, wasting their time and money, are now getting all these facilities at the Gram Panchayat level.
Smart Class- Smart classes have been arranged in all the schools of the district, through which students are getting digital education through LED TV.
COSMOS- An online system has been created for teachers’ monitoring. In this method, all teachers have to register their biometric presence. Thus, the teachers’ attendance is monitored easily through computer and mobile.
What are the major challenges you are facing for the implementation of ICT initiatives?
Balrampur district is a newly formed tribal district. Most of the population here is living in villages. One of the major challenges was to link them to the digital development of the State. There was also a lack of basic infrastructure as the district was newly formed. But we are trying to overcome these challenges.
What are the success stories of Balrampur as far as e-governance is concerned?
CSC (Common Service Center, Panchayatbanks across district at every Gram Panchayat level providing basic services like payment facility, DBT , recharge is one of our major project.
Aadhaar seeding by Village Level Entrepreneurs(VLE) are some of the areas where we have been successful.
What are your plans for the implementation of ICT Initiatives in the coming days?
We will establish UCL (Update Client Lite) . Created by Unique Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), it brings a huge opportunity for the VLEs to get on board for UCL service with CSC.
How do you view development of Balramour District vis-a-vis rest of the districts?
District Balrampur is the first district in the State where common service centres were set up for the facilities of rural citizens. Rural masses started getting income, caste, residence certificate and other facilities at the village panchayat level only thereby saving them from undue inconvenience. It is the first district in the State where Internet facility was started with the help of BSNL and Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) at all Gram Panchayats. It is also the first district of the State, where kiosk banks were opened in the Gram Panchayat Bhavan only with the support of Punjab National Bank. Today, people are getting banking facilities at the village level.