Common Services Centres (CSC) have got a licence to set up a Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU), as indicated by this report from Mint.  The licence will allow CSC eGovernance Services to connect with the  centralized Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). Through this, villagers will be able to pay their utility bills and get phone recharges and pay phone bills.

The number of CSC stand over 100,000 according to the government’s site. However, Mint says that the number of CSCs are at 170,000 as of May 2016. One of the key purpose of CSCs includes facilitating delivery of various e-services/e-governance schemes to rural and remote locations where availability of Internet is ‘negligible or mostly absent’.  

Other players who have got a licence to operate as a BBPOU are PayU, Oxigen, TechProcess Payment and EuroNet. In addition 37 banks can act as operating units.

The BBPS is a centralized system where banks and non-banks can allow a network of their agents to access bill payment services in an interoperable manner.  More on that here.

BharatNet connectivity: The IT ministry also instructed the Department of Telecommunication to link all CSCs under the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project. Additionally, state governments were instructed to relocate or co-locate all CSCs outside the reach of the NOFN program to gram panchayat premises having connectivity.

CSC tie ups with corporates/organizations

-In February, Intel had opened 10 Unnati Kendras in Telangana, under which each CSC was planned to be equipped with Intel powered devices, local language content and various training modules.

– In February last year, Flipkart signed an MoU with the CSC to work out a mechanism to help Common Service Centers (CSCs) pan India to leverage Flipkart’s e-commerce platform.

– In 2014, tied up with CSC to launch a new e-KYC based job portal for rural India.

– In 2013, Airtel Money, Bharti Airtel’s mobile money offering, had tied up with CSC to provide banking facilities via common service centers, in three districts of Uttar Pradesh.

 Image Credit: Flickr user CIAT under CC BY-SA 2.0