Common Service Centres Current Affairs
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The Union Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeITY) launched 5000 Wi-Fi Choupals in villages in partnership with common service centres (CSCs). It was jointly inaugurated by Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi.
The aim of Wi-Fi Choupals is to transform rural Internet connectivity through BharatNet. They focuses on developing rural Wi-Fi infrastructure and to host suitable applications to provide various ICT services at an affordable cost. They will provide 60,000 WiFi hotspots in rural areas enabling people effective Internet access for their various digital processes. Wi-Fi Choupals are in addition to broadband connectivity provided gram panchyats through optical fibre network under BharatNet.
BharatNet is Centre’s rural internet connectivity programme which is implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL). It is world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fibre. It seeks to connect all of India’s households, particularly the rural areas, through demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps to realise vision of Digital India. The project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF).
The Common Service Centres (CSCs) Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for delivery of railway services through CSC centres. This will allow CSCs to work as IRCTC agents for train ticket bookings.
CSCs will now be able to book general tickets. Under the agreement, all 2.9 lakh CSCs spread across the country will be able to book both reserved and unreserved train tickets. All CSCs will be connected with technology for railway ticket booking.
Moreover, Government is planning to empower CSCs to act as banking correspondents and to sell insurance too in the future. It is also pushing private sector participation in providing digital services through these platforms. Thus, these centres apart from providing digital literacy will provide services like Aadhaar payments, pension, banking, and insurance.
Common Service Centres (CSC)
CSC is an initiative of Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY). It is strategic cornerstone of Digital India programme. It is pan-India network catering to regional, geographic, linguistic and cultural diversity of country, thus enabling Government’s mandate of a socially, financially and digitally inclusive society.
There are as many as 2.91 lakh CSCs operate in the country today. They are mostly ICT enabled front end service delivery points at village level for delivery of government and private services. These CSCs serve as access points for delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare schemes, financial, healthcare, education and agriculture services, apart from host of B2C services to citizens in rural and remote areas of the country. They also serve as change agents by promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods.