Gandhinagar, Oct 8: With an aim to ensure online government services across rural areas in the state, the Gujarat government on Thursday launched Phase I of the ‘Digital Seva Setu’ program. Under this new initiative, 3,500 village panchayats have been connected by a 100Mbps optical fiber network to facilitate the online availability of public services.
‘Digital Seva Setu’ is an initiative under Digital Gujarat Mission to make technology and administration reach to the people in the remotest areas of the state. Public welfare services like income certificates, ration cards, certificates for the unreserved category will be available at e-gram offices in each panchayat and villagers will not have to go all the way to taluka or district-level offices.
"The Phase-1 of Digital Seva Setu will start from 8th October, 2020 in 2000 Village Panchayats and provide 20 types of pro-people services. Another 8 thousand Village Panchayats will be covered by December 2020. Citizens will be able to reap benefits of this program by paying a nominal fee of Rs.20. The Digital Seva Setu has been initiated under the BharatNet Project- an initiative to connect the Village Panchayats through fibre network. Gujarat has been a leader in Phase-2 of the BharatNet project," a press release stated.
Under the ‘Digital Seva Setu’ program, gram panchayats will be connected to the state data center at Gandhinagar. The government has assured that there is no need to visit district or taluka headquarters for administrative works as the citizens can avail of all services at the local Gram Panchayat.
Further, it said that villages of Gujarat will be connected with a 100 MBPS optical fiber network under the Digital Seva Setu. The aim is to make every village a Mini Sachivalay. Under the provision of Article-3 of Oaths Act-1969, the government will provide powers of the affidavit to the Talati cum Minister at the Village Panchayat level so that people in rural areas do not have to visit the notary offices in towns and cities.
"The work connecting 3,500 village panchayats (through optical fiber network) has been completed. On October 8, the program will be launched in 2,700 villages as the model code of conduct is in force in villages that fall under the eight assembly constituencies where byelections are scheduled on November 3," Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had said earlier. By December this year, 8,000 village panchayats will be provided this service, he had said.
The Seva Setu program was started by the Chief Minister in 2016. A cluster of 8-10 villages was made and a team of officers administered the Seva Setu camp of a particular cluster. People were provided on-spot solutions under this. More than 12,800 programs were successfully completed and more than 2 crore people reaped benefits of the Chief Minister’s initiative to provide Governance at the Doorstep of common people.
The Chief Minister has also decided to use E-sign rather than physical signatures. Under this, the concerned person can avail the necessary documents at the click of a button in his/her mobile phone and the documents will be made available in DigiLocker.An integrated and dedicated platform will be made in the future to encompass all the villages of Gujarat under Digital Seva Setu.