Over 10,300 Common Service Centre (CSC) have been set up in eight States to provide the rural population in remote areas with a mix of government, private and social sector services. The services which are the initiatives of the Department of Information Technology are both IT based and non-IT based. The states are Jharkhand, Haryana, West Bengal, Bihar, Tripura, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.
The Centres have come up as part of the Government’s plan to establish one lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) in six lakh villages in the country. The establishment of most of the Centres is likely to be completed by next year. The Scheme has been approved at a total cost of INR 5742 Cr. over 4 years, of which the Government of India is to contribute INR 856 Cr. and the State Governments INR 793 Cr. The balance resources would be mobilized from the private sector. The Common Service Centres are ICT-enabled Kiosks having a PC along with basic support equipment like Printer, Scanner, UPS, with Wireless Connectivity as the backbone and additional equipment for edutainment, telemedicine, projection systems, etc.
The contracts for setting up of the Centres are given through a bidding process by the respective state governments. It takes about twelve months for execution of the contract. The Scheme is being implemented through a Public Private Partnership. CSCs constitute one of the three pillars of the National e-Governance Plan for enabling anytime anywhere delivery of government services, the other two being (a) the State Wide Area Network (for Connectivity) which has already been approved by the Government for INR 3334 Cr. and b) the State Data Centre Scheme (for secure hosting of data and applications) for which implementation committees have been formed in several states. Department of Information Technology (DIT) has appointed a National Level Service Agency (NLSA), to coordinate the entire activity.