Ranchi, Sept. 22: Chief minister Arjun Munda today fixed October 31 as the deadline to make operational all 4,562 Pragya Kendras, or common service centres, across the state to ensure e-governance reaches the rural populace.
Munda’s directive, which came after a day-long review of the functioning of the IT department, offers a lifeline to aggrieved districts in Santhal Pargana, where only 10 of 1,019 proposed service centres are running.
So far, Internet connectivity has been provided to 2,500 Pragya Kendras in the state, though on any given day, less than 1,000 function properly.
As of now, Santhal Pargana lacks an agency to run the e-kiosk services in six of its districts after Zoom Developers backed out from the project last year.
“So far we have floated as many as five tenders to find a new agency to get the Pragya Kendras running in Santhal Pargana. Today, the chief minister told us that could avail of the services of central government agency CSC-SPV in Santhal Pargana if the fifth tender process fails to find a taker,” a senior government official involved with the project said.
During the meeting, authorities decided that BSNL would be asked to provide WiMAX connectivity in addition to the 350 V-SATs that the Centre has promised to provide in remote areas to ensure uninterrupted connectivity in all Pragya Kendras in the state.
The state government has also initiated talks with State Bank of India (SBI) to ensure that the kendras get used as bank kiosks in concerned panchayats wherein people can actually avail of services like opening savings accounts and/or term deposits. SBI is expected to execute the task within six months.
Munda also emphasised on training government staff in various aspects of IT, saying employees who would learn to operate IT tools would be recognised and rewarded by the government.
He also told IT officials to ensure that e-Nagrik services are made mandatory for issuing various certificates at the block level. At present, both manual and electronic applications are received for issuing caste, income, birth, death and residential certificates.
Today’s meeting was also attended by chief secretary S.K. Choudhary, development commissioner Debashish Gupta, Munda’s principal secretary D.K. Tiwary, IT and personnel department principal secretary N.N. Sinha, planning secretary Avinash Kumar and finance secretary Sukhdev Singh.