NEW DELHI / AMN
Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday proposed to open extended banking counters across all 2.9 lakh common service centres (CSCs) that are operated by village level entrepreneurs to provide government services in rural areas.
“My dream will come true if you accept the challenge to open extension counters of banks in 2.9 lakh places. If required we can collaborate with renewable and power ministry to set-up small solar units at your places so that electricity becomes free,” Goyal said after IRCTC and CSC e-Governance signed an agreement for train ticket bookings.
Railway Minster Goyal, who is also the interim Finance Minister, said that WiFi service is already being made available at CSCs. “Along with these, we can connect with core banking. If an extension counter of a bank is opened, then every villager will have a bank near his/her home,” Goyal said.
The Department of Telecom (DoT), on the occasion, launched 5,000 WiFi choupals in partnership with CSC which will provide 60,000 WiFi hotspots in rural areas.
Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that every ministry and government department is exploring opportunities to utilise the reach of CSCs in rural areas. She said that the DoT is looking to maintain BharatNet network; and the higher education department is looking to deliver its education content in gram panchayats through CSCs. Under the agreement signed between IRCTC and CSC e-Governance, all 2.9 lakh common service centres (CSC) will be able to book both reserved and unreserved train tickets.
With this development, all 2.9 lakh CSCs will be connected with technology for railway ticket booking. Around 40,000 CSCs are providing this service, and IRCTC should accelerate and make sure that in the next 8-9 month every CSCs should have this facility,” Goyal said.
CSC e-Governance CEO Dinesh Tyagi said, there will be no limit on number of tickets that can be booked from a CSC. “The money will be deducted from the account of VLE (person running CSC). He will get commission of Rs 10 per ticket. Booking of unreserved ticket will start in about a month,” Tyagi said.
Goyal also accepted the proposal of CSC e-Governance to allow all CSCs to operate as banking correspondents and also proposed to disburse ‘Mudra Loan’ through CSCs. “I announce that all 2.9 lakh CSC will be made banking correspondents. I have only one term for all of you- Honesty, nothing else,” Goyal said. “A handful of people in the banking system did wrong and defamed whole system. Why only banking correspondent? All CSCs can be made mediums to grant Mudra loans,” Goyal said.
He said that that giving loan is a task for great responsibility and the VLE (village level entrepreneur) will have to be vigilant to check misuse of loan disbursed through him or her. Goyal proposed opening of CSC at 8,000 railway stations where they can provide all their services besides tele-medicine and education.He said that CSCs should explore the possibility to make sanitary pads at price of Re 1 – Rs 1.25 and create awareness in rural areas about hygiene.
Law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that government will provide opportunities to CSCs and they should come forward to grab all this. He too emphasised that all CSCs should focus on honesty and convince others not to make any mistake.