160,000 service centres to implement national e-Governance

Agartala, July 11 (IANS) India is building a network of over 160,000 Common Services Centres (CSCs) to take a gamut of public services to the very doorstep of the common man as part of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), a government official said.

"The CSCs would have the ability to provide high quality and cost effective video, voice and data content and services in the areas of e-Governance, education, health, entertainment. They can also offer web-enabled public services like application form download, certificates, payments of electricity, telephone, water and other utility bills in rural areas," said Gaurav Dwivedi, director of Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).

The CSCs will also perform pension, income tax, social welfare, licenses, banking, insurance, agricultural, advertising and market research related works.

The CSC network would link more than 600,000 villages across the country, Dwivedi said, addressing at a workshop, jointly organised by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and DeitY under the union ministry of communications and information technology.

The perspective behind CSCs is to provide an IT-based delivery platform to government, private and social sector organisations for reaching out to the rural people in the remote areas. The implementation of CSCs involves public-private partnership, with an active participation of rural entrepreneurs.

"The CSCs would also be made digital knowledge centres and boost the e-literacy in the country," Dwivedi said.

A series of 50 workshops being planned in capitals of all states, union territories and important cities as part of the NeGP.

The official said that the central government is also pushing the Rs.20,000 crore National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) project to connect the 250,000 gram panchayats across the country in a phased manner by high speed broadband system.

A pilot project of the NOFN is being implemented in three blocks across the country - Panisagar block in north Tripura, Arain Block (under Ajmer district in Rajasthan), Parwada Block (under Vishakapatnam district in Andra Pradesh).

"The main object of this pilot project is to explore how NOFN can be best exploited to deliver services to the people by creating digitally empowered communities or digital villages," Dwivedi added.

He said that NeGP covers 31 Mission Mode Projects being implemented at the central, state and local government levels. They include 10 central, 14 state and 7 integrated projects spanning multiple ministries and departments.

These projects are owned and spearheaded by respective line ministries and departments of central and state governments. Each department works in a mission mode within a tight, defined time frame.

Addressing the workshop, Tripura's officiating chief secretary K.V. Satyanarayana said: "The successful hospital management software developed in Tripura is soon going to be adopted by Karnataka. In addition, 108 telemedicine centres will be operationalised in the state."

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