Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) on 24 May signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that operates Common Service
Centres (CSCs). The memorandum aims to
ensure credit is easily available to village level entrepreneurs (VLEs), to provide financial support to CSCs across
India and to promote the spread of Digital
Common Services Centres (CSC) project is one of the initiatives launched
under the Digital India Programme that was initiated by the Indian Prime
Minister Mr Narendra Modi. CSCs function
as access points for the delivery of various digital services
to citizens including banking, education, health services and passport and
Aadhaar registration. The CSCs also
provide access to online government services such as booking train tickets,
submission of forms and bills etc.
CSCs are working in 180,000 (1.8 lakh) village councils (gram panchayats) and are set to reach 250,000
(2.5 lakh) village councils (gram panchayats)
by end of this year.
Positioned as strategic cornerstones of the Digital India
programme, as many as 291,000 thousand (2.91 lakh) CSCs are operating in the
reported in 2016.
As part of the agreement, the SIDBI will extend its
financial aid to the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) of Common Services
Centres, with a minimum one year of operation, under the Direct Financing Window
In the press release, Mr
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, said
that he was pleased that the SIBDI has offered to support CSCs financially. With
more funding, there will be more opportunities for CSCs and this will encourage
rural entrepreneurship and lead to development.
According to the press release, under the Direct Financing
Window, the CSC SPV will approve the list of VLEs, within a 25-kilometre distance of SIDBI Branch Offices,
who require financial aid. To take a loan, the VLEs have to submit their CSC
project, with maximum project expenditure of IN₹ 3.50 lakh (about US$ 5,128) and a long-term
loan requirement not exceeding IN₹ 2lakh (the US
$2,930) per project.
Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology (MeitY) Secretary, Mr Ajay Prakash while discussing the development of DigiGaon
Dhanaudi Kalan in Uttar Pradesh, said that the SIDBI, by providing
financial support will be able to create new opportunities for the CSCs to plan
and implement new initiatives in underdeveloped areas.
Through the MoU, the CSC SPV and SIDBI will be
able to give more citizens and rural entrepreneurs adequate financial
funding. The partnership between the two will improve the financial
viability of CSCs by including more services, adding to its list of plans and products.