The Telangana government has opened ‘Digital Telangana Centres’ in 100 panchayats across the state, with plans to open another 1000 centers by January next year, reports YourStory. These centres will make various facilities and services like citizen and government services, payments of social welfare, pensions and wages, available digitally.

Other than this, users will also be able to avail banking and insurance services at these centres. According to the Telangana government, banks like Andhra Bank, State Bank of Hyderabad and Telangana Gramin Bank are already offering their services at the 100 centres along with the insurance firms like Future Generali. The centres will be managed by women trained to use computers and the software to operate the e-Panchayat program.

The government will also spend Rs 2.5 lakh on equipping each centre with laptops, computers, scanners, printers and a TV. As of now 100 panchayats have been covered in the last 1 month, with all of Telangana’s 8,750 gram panchayats expected to be covered in the next 2-3 years.

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Other developments in rural connectivity:

– In September, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Microsoft would provide ‘low-cost broadband technology’ to 500,000 villages in India, possibly through TV white spaces. Note that in February Google had said it was looking to bring Project Loon, its balloon powered Internet service to India, and was working with the government for the same.

– The same month the Tamil Nadu government said it would provide internet services, including IPTV services, through Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV), as well as implement BharatNet linking over 12,500 local rural bodies in the state, with an investment of Rs 3,000 crore ($451 million).

– In May, under the Digital India initiative, 20,000 villages had been connected to broadband services under the NOFN plan. This was after the NOFN was piloted in Kerala’s Idukki district in January.