Of the one-lakh IT-enabled Common Services Centres (CSCs) that the Government is planning to set up by March 2010, as many as 25195 Centres have already been set up with another 10000 in the pipeline which would become operational by the end of this March. These Centres are being set up across the six-lakh villages in the country at an estimated cost of Rs 5742 crore which would be raised via PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode.
By the end of 2008, RFPs (Request For Proposals) have been issued by 25 States for 1,06,275 CSCs and Master Service Agreements have been signed for 1,02,851 Centres in 23 States. Significantly, the states of Haryana, Jharkhand and Sikkim have completed 100 per cent roll out.
A Common Services Centre is an ICT-enabled service delivery outlet providing a range of services to the people in the village or the 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 the Government and 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 Crore over four years, of which the Government of India is estimated to contribute Rs 856 Crore and the State Governments Rs 793 Crore. 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.