An Appeal to Government!

By S Shah

Khidmat Center

The Common Services Centre (CSC) Scheme was approved by the Government of India in September 2006 for establishing CSCs across India. This union government sponsored project was started in the state of J&K in 2009. As a part of “National e-Governance Plan” (NeGP), the Government of J&K had to establish 1109 Common Service Centres across the State as per the guidelines. On behalf of His Excellency Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, State Designated Agency (SDA) Administrative Secretary Information Technology Department J&K, entered into a Master Service Agreement (MSA) with Service Centre Agency (J&K Bank Ltd) on 19th Day of February 2009 to develop, establish, manage, maintain, finance these CSC’s for delivery of cost effective, sustainable Convenient and speedy Government services to the citizens using Information & Communication Technology in an efficient manner.

Department of Information Technology Government of Jammu & Kashmir then declared Jammu & Kashmir e-Governance Agency (JaKeGA) (an autonomous Society under Department of Information Technology Government of Jammu & Kashmir) as the State Designated Agency (SDA) for this project. There is a separate MOU between The President of India acting through Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology and JaKeGA wherein the former has sponsored the Project entitled “Common Services Centre Scheme” under the e-Governance Head to be implemented by SDA (here JaKeGA).

The Project was inaugurated from Ganderbal District of J&K by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah along with current Finance Minister Dr Haseeb A Drabu who was the then Chairman J&K Bank Ltd.

These CSCs were named as KHIDMAT CENTRES locally by the SCA (J&K Bank).

In the initial stage (2009), the project looked promising and authorities and officials at SCA under the Chairmanship of Dr Haseeb A Drabu started delivering goods. But this unfortunately was the shortest phase of the project, and things turned ugly soon. At State level every Stakeholder and Participating institute or Organization whether it be, JaKeGA or SCA have some responsibilities and a pre-defined role. There are guidelines to be respected. There are rules to adhere. There are Articles and Clauses to be followed. But alas! No one has bothered to value such things and honour them.

The Current status and position of Khidmat Centres across J&K is hurting and heartening too… It is in other words pathetic…The current scenario and overall status projects the future of Khidmat Centre as bleak.

People at the Helm of affairs have ruined and hijacked this project for their vested interests.

JaKeGA- the mother of this project has forgotten its offspring. The condition of its offspring is miserable. SCA on the other hand is only concerned with its profit loss or trading sheets. They have limited this project to indirect/ third party banking activities only, be it documentation or Financial Inclusion. SCA is in no way concerned with the future of this project and the future of the youth involved.. They have a single point approach regarding this project: That’s profit at the cost of career of Hundreds of Youth.

The Primary aim of this whole project is to provide Government services to the citizens at their doorsteps in a cost effective manner. This project is actually aimed to eradicate the nuisance of corruption at gross root level by limiting the direct and multi-point interaction of citizens with government officials. This will also help in saving “AAM AADMI” hard earned money & time and empower them.

Hundreds of meetings have been so far conducted by the stake holders from 2010, minutes have been circulated but practical implementation is a dream yet. We almost met every Concerned Minister and Bureaucrats including the Chief Minister for the sake of this project in J&K. Maximum of them gave us a patient hearing and forgot the requests the next moment. Some of them made “weightless promises” which, with the passage of time, vanished without any implication. Some expressed helplessness. Even former IT Minister told us once frankly that “Yaar mera kuch nahi chalta mai kya karoon. Mai CM sahib se hi request karoonga ki iss project ka kuch karay”.  Chairman J&K Bank always refused to meet us and we are not able to understand and extract why? Is that the altitude of the Post or the Attitude of the Person???

Even orders from CM’s secretariat evaporated in air without implementation. People have violated directions and projected us wrong to cover their deeds and acts done. In a number of meetings conducted by SCA, terms have been dictated to us.

Prime Minister recently while inaugurating Digital India Week at Delhi focused necessary attention on CSC’s working at gross root level and labelled them as the important pillars of Mission Digital India. But it is unfortunate enough that no one spoke about Khidmat Centres here at state level. A state level function on Digital India Week was inaugurated here too on 2nd July at SKICC Srinagar in which the IT Minister hinted at rolling out more centres in the state. Isn’t that insane? Didn’t Respected Minister know the fact that there are more than 1100 centres already rolled out who are suffering & struggling to make two ends meet? Isn’t he aware that the need of the hour is to make these centres viable first and provide them services as promised and as per guidelines? Isn’t he briefed that the same project is doing well in other states?? Didn’t he know that the youth already engaged are being exploited from last five years???

From 2010 Hundreds of Circulars and orders have been floated regarding the scheme. Valuable Communication and circulars from Central Govt. have been kept under the covers or shown the Dust Bin way.

There are officials at SDA and SCA who are drawing handsome salaries but did they introspect and ask their selves and assess their output and performance viz-a-viz National e-Governance project. Introspection and work culture are necessary elements for the growth and development of an organization and from last 5 years we haven’t seen such type of traits. We have only faced fake promises and exploitation.

We openly challenge all the stake holders to answer our genuine queries in an open debate in front of General public. Let Aam Aadmi/Civil society ask these stake holders about their performance and achievements in the best interests of people of J&K.

It is a humble request to Honourable Chief Minister, Finance Minister & IT Minister to kindly pay attention towards this auspicious project immediately and frame a comprehensive policy for the proper implementation of this project and rehabilitation of VLE’s engaged.

“Jis Khait se Dehqaan Ko Maisar na ho Roti,

 Uss Khait ke Har Gooshaye Gundhum ko Jala Do” (Allama Iqbal RA)

S Shah




E-Mail: [email protected]

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