Ever heard of Biometricpur? It’s an e-governance project being implemented by the government in Balrampur district of Chhatisgarh. The project seeks to deliver government services to people across the district despite the challenges arising out of the difficult terrain of the region.
This Common Service Centre (CSC) program is a classic example of how e-governance has made the lives of people better and contributes to enhancing their income and employment opportunities. In Balrampur district in the state of Chhattisgarh, it has contributed towards providing government services more efficiently. It has also brought a good amount of surplus for the village level entrepreneurs (VLEs).
Since its inception, the project, aimed at facilitating the provision of e-services in the district of Balrampur, has enabled 340 village panchayats to access various government schemes online. Internet access facilities have been enabled via optical fiber cable. Significantly, villages in this district have uninterrupted, round the clock electricity.
The CSC came into being as a result of the merger of Apna CSC portal, Lok Sewa Kendra, and the Panchayat Bank.
Under the project, every panchayat office would be equipped with Internet infrastructure and connectivity, and would have a transaction counter as in the case of banks. The centre is handled by people trained by the VLE.
The business model is such that it leads to the generation of revenue, while being self-sustainable and also suits remote rural areas. In the scheme of CSC, the local businesses, the administration and the end users as well as common people partake in the beneficial effects.
The VLEs are created thus: a group of three to seven people having minimum education of 10 + 2 and having computer operational knowledge are selected based on their performance in assessment and interview test. Each VLE is assigned to work at one gram panchayat.
How it’s working
To improve the efficiency of VLEs, they have been encouraged to purchase laptop computers.
Provision of uninterrupted electricity is essential for efficient performance of Internet connectivity. For this, the Chhattisgarh Renewal Energy Development Agency (CREDA) will provide two solar powered inverters in each panchayat facing electricity problems. Today, users are accessing the Internet via data cable in villages with basic Internet connectivity.
One-mbp broadband Internet is also going to be served through the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project. The Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is working out a plan on this behalf.
The effects of the project are clearly visible. A survey shows that close to 6,95,000 bank accounts will be opened if people aged more than 10 years are targeted. As for applications for the accounts, over 5,06,000 people filled in the forms within a period of just three months of launch of the program. This also includes 3,27,000 biometric accounts. Other accounts are also being opened. This is a remarkable achievement thanks to e-governance.
The essence of e-governance is speed, efficiency, and transparent delivery of government services to common people. The project Biometricpur is going to yield all the benefits of e-governance for all: businesses, government and above all common citizens, and it’s worthwhile to extend the project to other districts in the country as well.