One would expect that pricing of Internet access to farmers would be highly subsidized, and not as expensive as cybercafes: the Agriculture Department of Andhra Pradesh is running pilot programmes in 3 mandals from 3 regions of West Godavari, Kurnool and Karimnagar District for various services to farmers through Citizen Service Centres (CSCs). The cost:

  • Surfing and Viewing agriculture information for an hour will cost Rs 10. Thats what most cyber cafes’ charge, where is the subsidy or why charge at all?
  • Printing per page will cost Rs 2, as high, if not more, than some cybercafes.
  • Viewing video uing CD will cost farmers Rs 10 per hour and requesting for online Soil Health Card will cost Rs 5.
  • Sending five questions through net will attract a fee of Rs 5
  • We’re not sure of what this means, but “sending a one sentence query will cost Rs 2.”

Several CSCs Not Functional Anymore; SWAN, e-Districts Behind Schedule

What’s really not funny is this statement that the Government is trying to ensure that there’s telecom and broadband in every village: the CSC rollout appears to be faltering: As of February 28, 2010, 561 out of the 1159 Common Service Centres are still non-operational in Haryana. The CSCs have been non-functional from January. Similarly due to cancellation of contract 133 CSCS are non operational in Tripura.

Out of the 14 states for the e-district project, work is on schedule only in Assam but data digitization is still in progress and a state wide rollout is yet to take off. For the remaining 13 work is behind schedule or in progress at various phases.

Only 2 states Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh have completed the State Wide Area Network (SWAN) implementation since the end of January taking the total to 17. Implementation in Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra and Orissa are behind the deadline.

Progress:

A total of 71,078 CSCs have been rolled out in 28 States out of the total 122,981. 27,376 online monitoring tool has been installed across 24 states. In Punjab the bid process is underway, MSA signing is pending at state level for Arunachal Pradesh, Request For Proposal / Tender (RFP) is  ready for issuance in Nadaman & Nicobar and implementation in Lakshwadeep, Daman & Diu and Darda & Nagar Haveli are under discussion.

In 2008-09, a total fund of Rs 560.46 million  and Rs 231.75 million has been issued by the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and as Additional Central Allocation (ACA) respectively for the CSC implementation. CSCs are Internet connected kiosks set up in villages that allow citizens to book tickets, apply for jobs, search for market information on crops and sell their produce. The CSC rollout is a part of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Plan(NREGA).

As of February 17, SWAN implementation in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya Manipur, Uttarakhand is supposed to be completed between March to June 2010. Bid Process has been initiated in Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir and the implementation for these states cannot be expected before June 2010. RFP is under revision for Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.

DIT has released funds worth Rs 570.8 million  and Rs 520.8 million has been released as ACA for SWAN implementation .

There seems to be some progress in the SDC implementation. A total of 7 states have contracts signed and work orders issued, an addition of 4 namely, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Nagaland and Rajasthan since mid January. These states have a deadline of July to August 2010 for implementation.  A total of Rs 407.9 million  and Rs 1.2 billion has been released by DIT and ACA respectively for the project.

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Related:

694 CSCs Non Operational, 8 States Get SWANs
Lack Of Funds Stalls National E-Governance Projects
India Adds 12.05M Connections In June; E-Governance Roll Outs Delayed
Internet CSC Rollout Complete In Jharkhand, Haryana, Sikkim; Long Way To Go