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Lack Of Funds Stalls National E-Governance Projects

Pan-India roll outs of common service centres (CSCs) is facing a roadblock due to lack of funds and inadequate monitoring, causing existing centres to become non-operational. CSCs are Internet connected kiosks set up in villages that allow denizens to book tickets, apply for jobs, search for market information on crops and sell their produce. Schemes such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) are also failing to reach the needy for similar reasons. CSCs Non-Operational As of October 2009, a total of 55,979 CSCs have been established and the government anticipates the project to be completed by June 2010, by when there would be over 1 million CSCs across the subcontinent: a grand scheme that is failing before it reaches even mid-way. According to the latest newsletter by Common Service Centers India, a scheme by the Department of Information Technology under the national e-governance plan, three states - Haryana, Jharkhand and Sikkim - which reported 100% CSC roll outs have now suffered a setback that has  caused some centres to become non-operational. Financial problems and lack of G2C services have been identified as the causes. The CSC project is under a PPP (private public partnership) so the financial problems may be associated with not just the government's inability to secure funding but also the private company's performance. (Download the newsletter here) Nikhil adds: I'm not very bullish on the CSCs because it leads to the concentration of information and power in the hands of few - those running the CSCs, who have…

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