India to provide more digital services in villages through Common Service Centres and Wi-Fi hubs
While addressing around 3,000 village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs) from across the country, The Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Mr Ravi Prasad said that every Wi-Fi hub in India will be knowledge centres of the public.
The setting up of Wi-Fi hotspots in villages around the country are a part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative. The aim is to provide Internet access throughout rural India by offering affordable data plans that will give villagers easy access to e-learning, skill development and healthcare etc.
The Wi-Fi hubs have been set up in rural areas using the India Net (BharatNet) broadband infrastructure. The initiative will connect social institutions like police stations, primary health centres, schools, post offices and about 250,000 village councils (Gram Panchayats) in the country.
At a conference organised by Common Service Centre SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle), Mr Ravi Prasad said because of the development of CSCs in villages, people will no longer have to go to cities for basic facilities like healthcare, Internet access, and education etc.
Common Service Centres function as access points for the delivery of digital services that are provided by the Government. CSCs offer a variety of services such as e-learning, e-banking, insurance, and healthcare among others. Additionally, CSCs have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC); under the MoU, CSCs will now work as IRCTC agents and offer online ticket booking facilities.
According to the Ministry, CSCs are also likely to create more job opportunities for people in rural India.
Through the CSC SPV and aided by IndusInd Bank, 300,000 candidates will be taught digital literacy; the initiative has been certified under the Prime Minister’s Rural Digital Literacy Campaign (Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan- PMGDSA). PMGMSA aims to teach at least one person per household basic digital literacy skills by 2020; it is expected to impact around 250 million individuals over the next few years.
The Minister of Railways and Finance and Corporate Affairs, Mr Piyush Goyal said that CSCs have the potential to change the social fabric of the country and that the expansion of digital technology in India is expected to add a 5% growth in its GDP.