Across the country, an increasing number of villagers in rural India are turning to Common Service Centres (CSC) to avoid the long ques characteristic of all government offices. These Common Service Centres work as e-governance delivery centres and were set up in 2006, as a part of the National eGovernance Plan (NeGP). CSCs run on the Public-Private Partnership Model (PPP) wherein local entrepreneurs not only set up the Centres with basic computing infrastructure, but also run them and are paid for every transaction they undertake.
There are close to 1,60,000 CSCs spread over more than 600,000 rural villages in India. While many of these have remained inactive for a long period of time, the government’s latest move to introduce cash-on-delivery for government-to-citizen (G2C) services might help revive these Centres. Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC eGovernance Services India, explains, “If you can deliver G2C services in a cash-on-delivery mode, insulating people from going to government offices, you will bring a revolution in the mindset of the people.”
At present, CSC offers Aadhar card related services. At least 10% of the total 100 crore Aadhar enrolments are believed to have been facilitated by CSCs. More than 40% of Aadhar applications have also been generated through CSCs.
Image for representation only. Source: Wikimedia
Although CSCs were initially established with the primary aim of offering government organisations a low cost medium to deliver e-governance services to the rural population, their mandate has since evolved to include financial inclusion and pension schemes. More than 30,000 CSCs are believed to be involved in the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana.
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CSCs are also believed to have earned close to Rs. 40 crore in banking services alone. ““Our objective is to make every CSC a business correspondence point so that they can deliver banking and corresponding services. To enable this, we have recently signed the agreements with almost all the major public sector banks,” Tyagi told The Financial Express.
CSCs also collect Rs. 1 crore premium a day as agents for insurance companies. This has led to a higher renewal for insurance firms and a better commission for the local entrepreneurs who run the CSC.
The major attraction for most villagers however continues to remain payment of electricity bills, application for ration card, application for election photo identity cards, obtaining government scheme application forms and getting assistance in applying for jobs.
CSCs are slowly but surely bringing about an e-governance revolution in rural India.