The National Common Minimum Programme comprises of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) focused at delivering information and government services to the doorstep of the citizens especially for rural citizens. Access to information, backed with relevant ICT infrastructure and services, can empower rural villagers to improve their quality of life and also supplement their existing incomes in a sustainable way. NeGP is based on the three-pillar model for service delivery as follows.
I. State Wide Area Network (SWAN) to provide connectivity up to the block level.
II. National Data Bank/State Data Centres (SDC) at GOI and State Capitals respectively.
III. Common Service Centres (CSC) at one lakh Panchayats all over the country.
Access to information and e-Governance services such as (birth and death certificates, payment of utility bills) micro-credit, education (e-learning), health (tele-medicine), financial services, entertainment etc. shall be provided through such ICT infrastructure for the economic prosperity of rural India. The CSC would also act as nodal point of service delivery and as an information Window of Central and State Govt. Departments to the rural consumers.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), Government of India is the Central Government agency for facilitating the establishment of a network of more than 100,000 internet enabled Information and Communication Technology (ICT) access points termed as Common Service Centres (CSC) at Panchayat level. The CSCs are meant to provide high quality and cost effective audio, video and data content, in the areas of E-Governance, Education, Health, Tele-medicine and Entertainment in addition to the government and private services.
The goal of the CSC Project is to empower rural communities and catalyse social change through application of ICT based modern technologies. With a large and heterogeneous geographical area, the private and civil society participations are expected to play an active role in development and implementation of the CSC Project in supplementing the Governments' efforts to realise the vision of the project.
(CSC Implementation Structure)
Unlocking The Potential of Rural India
(a) Rural citizen's Economical tool to access information and services: Successful implementation of the CSC project shall facilitate economical and instantaneous access to information and services to rural citizens of India. Basic information need of rural citizens are related to agricultural inputs, weather, commodity prices, health, as well as Services related to e-Governance, tele-medicine, bill payments and bookings, data entry, digital photography, entertainment, education and e-learning, micro-finance, etc. can help in saving precious monetary resources and also providing an ideal platform for betterment of quality of life in rural India.
(b) 100,000 rural entrepreneurs with small businesses: The CSC Scheme will be setting up 100,000 small business units in rural India that would be run by social entrepreneurs, who are trained and empowered rural youth.
(c) Better governance at lower costs: The CSC Scheme would enable State and Central government agencies to directly link up with citizens without a long chain of intermediaries. Such a system would not only save huge costs but also reduce systemic red tape as well as service delays, thereby leading to transparency in governance
Approch to ICT Enabled CSC
The CSCs would be a new delivery channel for offering e-Governance and other services to a target market of 700 million rural citizens of India. The CSC envisages a collaborative model for delivery of content, services, information and knowledge, that can allow like-minded public and private entities - through a collaborative framework - to integrate their goals of profit and social objectives, into a sustainable business model for achieving rapid socio-economic change in rural India. It is the community participation and collective action, not ICT alone, which will lead to a behaviour change for a sustainable socio-economic change and long-term rural prosperity.
Infrastructure Framework of CSC
The two major components of the CSC infrastructure are- Physical Infrastructure and Digital Infrastructure : Physical Infrastructure includes the site and space of the CSC and other infrastructure including furniture, storage, security, UPS, Genset, wireless equipment, telemedicine equipment, etc. Digital Infrastructure includes all onsite technology equipment, such as PCs, Printers, Scanners, Projectors, Digital Camera, Photo Printer, Software, Television, etc.
End-to-end Services: The key driver for the selection of content and services is their end-to-end applicability. This means that a specific content/ service will be in a marketable format for its delivery by the network of CSCs.
Broadly, the service selection will be based on their ability to impact the consumer through informatisation, saving cost, helping Income Generation and enabling socio-economic development. The bouquet of services will be updated in consultation with the state government/SLA/SCAs