Centre’s ambitious e-governance program limbs along, 68,000 CSCs connected

The government has claimed to have rolled out 94,000 Internet-kiosks as part of its e-governance program. 1 lakh kiosks, called Common Service Centres or CSCs, were supposed to have been rolled out nearly 3-4 years ago, but have faced enormous delays.

The biggest delay has been in readying government services — such as issue of land records, collection of taxes etc.. through the Internet or through these kiosks. Only around 30% of the work that needed to have been done by now by state governments have been done, with several states still in the process of setting up the physical infrastructure needed to enable such e-services.

Another big issue has been providing Internet connectivity to these kiosks, primarily due to delays on the part of BSNL which collected hundreds of crores of Rupees as its fee years ago.

When complete, the program will allow citizens to avoid harassment at the hands of government officials and clerks by completely automating most of the services like issue of certificates and payment of taxes.

According to the update, only 67,883 CSCs have been provided with connectivity, with BSNL accounting for around 40,000 of those. BSNL is using Wimax to reach out to the far flung centres, while many other CSCs are being provided connectivity through satellite.

With state governments failing to get their act together in launching the services, the Government has also come out with a proposal to set 5 year deadline for complete digitization of state and local governments.

Central government proposes 5-year deadline for e-governance implementation by states