Gandhinagar, Oct 6 (PTI) The Gujarat government will on Thursday launch phase-I of the 'Digital Seva Setu' programme, under which 3,500 village panchayats have been connected with 100 MBPS optical fibre network to facilitate online availability of public welfare services.
Announcing this at a press conference here on Tuesday, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the programme, an initiative under the Centre's BharatNet project, is meant to ensure optimum utilisation of technology for public welfare and will bring in a 'historic administrative revolution'.
As part of the programme, public welfare services will be made available at the e-gram office in each panchayat and villagers will not have to go all the way to taluka or district-level offices.
'The work connecting 3,500 village panchayats (through optical fibre network) has been completed.
'On October 8, the programme will be launched in 2,700 villages as model code is in force in the remaining villages that fall under the eight Assembly constituencies where by- elections are scheduled on November 3,' Rupani said.
By December this year, 8,000 village panchayats will be provided this service, he said.
The 'Digital Seva Setu' aims to provide fast and faceless services to people by removing corruption or the need of middlemen, Rupani said.
'We are starting with 20 services, and will slowly offer 50 services to villages. All the 14,000 gram panchayats in the state will be covered under the programme,' he said.
'The system makes use of digital service and removes corruption in administration...we will complete the work of connecting the remaining villages by 2021,' he said.
The programme has been initiated under the Centre's BharatNet Project that aims to connect village panchayats through optical fibre network, with Gujarat being the project leader, having laid around 83 per cent of the optical fibre network, government officials claimed.
Under the 'Digital Seva Setu' programme, gram panchayats will be connected to the state data centre at Gandhinagar.
The 20 services to be offered initially to villagers under the programme include ration cards, affidavits and certificates for widows, residence, caste, senior citizen, language-based minority, religious minority, nomad-denotified, and income certificates.
A 'talati' (revenue officer) has been given the power to provide affidavits at the village level so that beneficiaries do not have to visit the notary offices in towns and cities, Rupani said.
Use of e-signature in place of physical signature has also been facilitated so that a beneficiary gets the required documents, made available in a digital locker, at the click of his/her mobile phone, he said.
Citizens will have to pay a nominal fee of Rs 20 for each service, a part of which will go to the village panchayat, the chief minister said.
The initiative is the digital avatar of the 'Seva Setu' programme that was started by Rupani in 2016 wherein a cluster of eight to ten villages was formed and a team of officers administered the programme-related camp of a particular cluster. PTI KA PD GK GK