About 18,000 Common Service Centres (CSCs) have been set up in various states of India to provide IT enabled services to the people in the rural areas, a government spokesperson announced on Tuesday. These are part of the overall plan of the Government to establish One Lakh CSCs in 600,000 villages. All the CSCs are scheduled to be operational by July next year. Agencies for setting up of service Centres have been selected in most of the cases. The final number of CSCs in the country is likely to be over 1,13,000, well above the initial target.
In the states of Jharkhand and Haryana, the roll out of the Centres is complete while in Gujarat it will be completed soon. The other states where a number of CSCs have already become operational are West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Orissa, Meghalaya and Tripura. In several states, agreements have already been signed with the selected Service Centre Agencies (SCAs) for setting up of about 76,000 CSCs. A maximum of 17,909 CSCs are proposed in Uttar Pradesh followed by 9,232 in Madhya Pradesh and 8558 in Orissa. 8,463 CSCs are to come up in Bihar and 6,626 in Rajasthan.
A Common Services Centre is an ICT-enabled Service Delivery outlet providing a range of services to the people in the village / town in which it is located. The Government has approved the Common Service Centre Scheme that envisions CSCs as the front-end delivery points for Government, private and social sector services to rural citizens in an integrated manner. The objective is to develop a platform that can enable Government, private and social sector organizations to align their social and commercial goals for the benefit of the rural population in the remotest corners. The Centres are being designed as ICT-enabled Kiosks having a PC along with basic support equipment like Printer, Scanner, UPS, with Wireless Connectivity as the backbone and additional equipment for edutainment, telemedicine, projection systems, etc.
The Scheme is to be implemented through a Public Private Partnership. It has been approved at a total cost of Rs 5742 Cr. over 4 years, of which the Government of India is estimated to contribute Rs 856 Cr. and the State Governments Rs 793 Cr. The balance resources would be mobilized from the private sector.
By setting up this network of access points, the Department of Information Technology of the Government of India has sought to leverage the advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for the benefit of the citizens, especially those in rural and remote areas. The CSC roll out is part of DIT’s steps to support Infrastructure under the National E-Governance Plan for enabling anytime anywhere delivery of government services. Department of IT would provide calibrated support through policy interventions and appropriate financial support to create the basic infrastructure for the 100,000 CSCs.