Chhattisgarh is making great strides towards promoting entrepreneurship and increasing the digital footprint to help rural people unlock opportunities. Recently at the Rural Digipreneur Summit in Raipur, the state government launched several initiatives to encourage rural entrepreneurship and digital connectivity. At least 7,500 Facebook pages were launched for the Common Service Centres (CSCs) across Chhattisgarh at the Summit.
“This is a unique initiative and is happening at a very big scale. It has immense potential”, Chief Minister Raman Singh said after launching the initiative with Katie Harbath, the Head of Facebook’s Politics & Government Outreach Team.
CSCs on Facebook will help the state build a digital presence, leverage the mobile economy and gain market access in a more efficient manner. “Introducing CSCs online will help provide crucial services to the last mile and bring a paradigm shift in governance” Singh said adding that “the CSCs will be the face of the government across state, even in the most interiors parts, and ensure efficiency”.
Drawing a parallel between Chhattisgarh and Facebook, Singh said that 2004 was a milestone year for both entities. His government had just been elected and started working in the state, and Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, had just launched the social media giant. Today, Chhattisgarh is one of the fastest developing states in the country, while Facebook has become a global phenomenon and the most popular social media platform.
“We are committed to create and empower communities,” Harbath said complementing Singh’s vision. “Village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs) who run and manage the CSCs are an important part of the government” and it’s important to recognise that and provide them with as much support as possible, she added. “Facebook will help in training these VLEs to help them utilise their FB pages to their maximum potential.”
Rajat Arora, the lead of Economic Growth Initiatives for Facebook across South Asia Region, trained the 7,500 village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs) who attended the summit. VLEs, who run and manage CSCs, have completed more than 40 lakh transactions benefiting nearly 73 lakh people in the current financial year in Chhattisgarh. These transactions are worth over Rs. 96 crore, second only to Uttar Pradesh.
Initiatives launched at the Summit includes
1. VLEs as Banking Correspondents
To create a transparent business ecosystem, Yes Bank will train VLEs in digital financial services.
2. Chai pe Charcha Cafes
CSCs will offer a space for knowledge sharing and recreation in villages. This initiative aims to open close to 200 cafes, which in turn will give employment to over 800 people.
3. Rural BPOs
CSCs to become the nodal agencies that will implement the Government of India’s Rural BPO Scheme. About 10 women will be employed in each BPO by the VLEs. CHiPS currently aims to facilitate one rural BPO in every district. The already established BPO in Baloda Bazar District’s Sarsiwa Village was inaugurated at the event.
4. Tele-medicine services
CSCs to facilitate health consultation services with doctors via video conferencing both within and outside the state. People can also get a prescription via the existing CSCs
5. Sanitary napkin units
With this initiative, the CSCs aim to facilitate the installation of affordable and accessible sanitary napkin micro-units. Around 12 women will be employed per unit to help manufacture close to 2,000 high quality, biodegradable napkins per day.
6. Wi-Fi Chaupals
CSCs will enable people in villages to access internet by creating Wi-Fi hotspots.
The chaupals in Balrampur and Durg District were inaugurated at the event.