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Govt to expand service centers to 2.5 lakh panchayats


New Delhi: Government will expand Common Service Centres, which provide public services in rural areas, from about 1.5 lakh at present to 2.5 lakh under the Digital India programme, Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.

“Common Service Centres are very important for the progress of country. Through these centers we are also looking at empowerment of women. We are going to increase the number of CSCs from about 1.5 lakh to 2.5 lakh under Digital India program,” Prasad said at the first ‘All Women Village Level Entrepreneur Conference’.

Under the Digital India programme government has set the target to establish CSCs in each of 2.5 lakh village panchayat by 2017 with estimated cost of Rs 4,750 crore.

“The expansion scheme of CSCs is in the final stages and will be announced soon,” Department of Electronics and IT Secretary R S Sharma said.

In some states, CSCs are being moved to panchayat office at monthly rent of Re 1 so that more people come and take the benefit of service from these centers.

Women entrepreneurs operating CSCs from all over country attended conference and shared their experience.

A village level entrepreneur Vaijanti from Bihar said that she embraced the CSC even though she was not computer literate and is now able to operate computers and provide services in her village.

“We have helped people in opening bank accounts under Jan Dhan Yojana. We could have never imagined that one day we will be operating computer. I was always afraid of touching computer that if I enter some wrong button there will be big mess but now we are doing it,” Vaijanti said.

An entrepreneur from Chattisgarh, Tanuja said that people visit her centers for accessing government services like Aadhar card. At times, she had to call police for managing the crowds, she added.

Entrepreneurs from Jammu and Kashmir said they have been operating CSC despite certain difficulties in the state.

“We face (internet) connection problem frequently. VLEs are not getting paid the commission in time from government. We have been earning well from loan documentation but state government schemes are not there,” said Zeenat-Un-Nisa from Baramula.

Another woman from the state Nusrat Hassan said that she worked to get people open their bank account under Jan Dhan Yojana, but is yet to receive payment from the government.

Pan card, passport, mobile recharge, train tickets are the service that are mostly used by people there, she added.

An entrepreneur from Jodhpur, Rajasthan too complaint that CSC there have not received payment from state government since last one year.

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