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Digital Village Scheme 2.0

Digital Village Scheme 2.0

Tag: GS 2 || Governance & Social Justice || Other Aspects of Governance || E-Governance

Why in news?

  • Delivering services at beneficiaries’ doorstep earned the PM goodwill in rural areas.

What?

  • Digital villages scheme: Digital villages are an integral scheme linked with the Digital India initiative, which aims to provide a platform for availability of services such as telemedicine, tele-education, LED street lighting, wi-fi and skill development to the people at the gram panchayat level across the country.

Common Service Centres (CSCs)

  • CSCs are access points with basic computing infrastructure run and operated by a local entrepreneur who lives in the community.
    • In 2014 there were only 84,000 CSCs.
    • Today, their number has increased to more than 3 lakh.
    • Of these, 2 lakh and 12,000 centres have been set up in village panchayats.
  • 700 villages: Common Service Centres, formed under the IT Ministry, which deliver various welfare schemes in 700 villages are likely to be opened in more villages.
  • Political significance: Of the 303 Lok Sabha seats which BJP won, 274 constituencies are those where the Centre pushed its Digital Village scheme providing access to information, knowledge and skill to the citizens using various components of Digital India initiative.
    • From making government services available to villagers at their doorstep to creating young rural entrepreneurs, Digital Villages have become agents of change in rural India.
  • Performance in states: Apart from States such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar, BJP’s performance in states like West Bengal, Odisha, Telengana, Jammu and Kashmir and North-Eastern states has been remarkable.
  • In all these States Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been actively monitoring the Digital Village scheme which is implemented by its arm — Common Service Centre (CSC) Special Purpose Vehicle.
    • On several occasions, Prime Minister acknowledged role of CSC in making Digital Village a reality and ensuring benefits of government schemes reach rural hinterland.

Digital Village scheme 2.0

  • After reaping rich dividends from its ‘Digital Village’ initiative in the Lok Sabha polls, the government, in its second term, is set to scale up the project.
  • The focus is expected to be on expanding the reach of social schemes such as Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) besides ensuring financial services, basic healthcare and skill development in rural India.
    • The PM-SYM is a scheme to provide old age pension and social security for unorganised sector workers.
  • Officials have been sounded to prepare a detailed roadmap to take the scheme to the next level.
  • The Modi-led government is keen to replicate the success of Digital Village in remaining villages across India.

Target

  • One lakh digital villages: One lakh villages will be transformed into Digital Villages within one year which would require support from all Ministries of the government.
    • This will not only help villages realise their true potential, but will likely transform the Indian hinterland into a powerhouse in coming years.
  • Under the scheme, villages are provided –
    • Wi-Fi connectivity,
    • with healthcare and education provided digitally.
  • Financial inclusion: Similarly, CSCs in Digital Villages have also become hub of financial inclusion.
    • CSC’s tie up with HDFC Bank is only going to make financial inclusion faster and better in rural India.

Mains question

  • Critically analyze the impact of Digital Village scheme on villages. Has the scheme been successful in transforming villages into self-sustaining units?