CSC News: CSC services on slow lane via India Post

A government plan that encourages post offices to offer services provided solely by Common Services Centers (CSCs) has yet to gain momentum due to a lack of incentives and infrastructure for postal workers, sources said.

The partnership between India Post, which reports to the Department of Communications’ Postal Department, and the CSCs, a special purpose vehicle of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), was formed earlier this year.

As part of the initiative, CSCs provided all 143,000 post offices and their postal workers with special login access, allowing them to access services such as updating Aadhaar card details, completing forms for passports and PAN (Permanent Account Number) cards as well as offering to sell or buy products through the CSC’s e-Grameen portal, sources said.

“For example, each VLE (Village Level Entrepreneur) receives Rs 100 from the State Department’s Passport Seva Program Division for each form they assist in completing in rural areas. Similarly, with banks, the commission ranges from Rs 200 to Rs 600 for a variety of services rendered. With the login ID, even postal workers can do it,” one government official said.

In total, the CSCs have trained postal workers at 25,000 large post offices and 118,000 small post offices to provide these services.

However, the plan has yet to gain momentum due to a lack of incentives for postal workers, the sources added.

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“A VLE is self-motivated and has incentives to enroll more people in certain programs or provide them with better services. Post offices and postal workers have no incentive as they are already working on salaries. Most of them do not work on weekends and are not available to users after 5 p.m.,” an official said.

CSCs provide services such as filling out forms for government services such as a passport, and creating and updating Aadhaar, PAN, and other government ID cards.

It also offers minor banking services such as account balance verification, fund deposit, fund withdrawal and bank loan lead generation for public and private sector banks through its network of bank correspondents.

Aside from that, CSCs are also working on maintaining and repairing internet cables that have been laid in various villages as part of the BharatNet broadband connectivity program.

“That’s why all post offices are now also functioning as CSCs. But unlike the VLEs, postal workers do minimal work such as collecting bills for various services such as telephone and electricity, or collecting premiums for some life insurance policies or policies taken out by users in rural areas. These kinds of services don’t bring good commissions,” one of the sources said.

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