Kolkata, June 21: Union Minister for Information and Technology and Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday said rural post offices across the country will also function as common service centres (CSCs) providing e-services.
He said this while asserting that the postal department had a crucial role to play in bringing in digital revolution in the country.
"Our vision of digital India is to ensure that from a mason to barber to a tyre-puncture repairer, all can access newer avenues of growth using communications equipment like a smart phone," said Prasad while inaugurating the revamped building of Bhowanipore post office here.
"We are also committed to developing E-commerce, E-education and E-health. This is the larger vision of digital India. And in this digital India initiative, rural post offices have a very crucial role to play.
"We have decided that all the 1.30 lakh rural post offices should also become common service centres (CSCs) to further provide services," the minister added.
Implemented under the National e-Governance Plan and formulated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, the CSCs are ICT-enabled front end service delivery points at the village-level for delivery of government, financial, social and private sector services in the areas of agriculture, health, education, entertainment, FMCG products, banking, insurance, pension, utility payments etc.
Prasad said he expected the Reserve Bank of India to grant payment license to the proposed Post Bank of India by July.
"We expect to get the RBI nod by July. With 1,54,000 post offices the new initiative will usher in a financial revolution across the country," he said.
Hailing the services by the postal department, Prasad said it has done a business of Rs.500 crore in the year in e-commerce besides opening over 52 lakh accounts under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna receiving over Rs.1,000 in deposits.
"Whatever, be the decline in services, people still respect the Indian Railways and the postal services. I urge you all to build upon that respect and contribute towards the growth of the country," said Prasad, urging the employees to contribute towards the government's initiative to modernise the postal department.
Prasad also said state-run BSNL was also on the road to recovery.
"Now BSNL is running into losses in excess of Rs.8,000 crore. But in 2004, it earned a profit of Rs.10,000 crore. So we decided to revive it ... BSNL already has added 47 lakh new customers and its revenue has risen by 2 percent," he said.
The minister also said there would be 100 crore mobile connections in the country in next few years.
"In a country with a population of 125 crore, we now nearly 101 crore phone connections of which 98 crore are mobile phones. In the coming few years, we will have over 100 crore mobile phone connectivity across the country," Prasad said.
"Studies show that a country with more broadband connections has greater impact on the GDP growth.
"So we are bringing national optical fibre network connecting over 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across the country, we are bringing in broadband revolution," he added.