The government s rural e-governance initiative Common Service Centres (CSCs) will now launch a pilot project to provide clean and safe drinking water in 50 villages, following which it will rope in village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs) to set up water filtration plants in 1 lakh villages in the country.
This will be the government s first such initiative after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 16 announced setting up a target to provide clean drinking water to all by 2024.
CSC has inked an MoU with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for installing water filtration plants in villages. BARC has indigenously developed various water filtration techniques. Now, CSCs through their VLEs will set up these filtration plants in rural areas.
We will begin with a pilot project for 50 villages. After this, CSC will work with VLEs to set up plants in around 50,000 villages. Another 50,000 villages will be added later. The first tranche is from the villages where BARC has to provide the filtration plants. Rest will come from other stakeholder ministries, CEO of the CSC SPV, Dinesh Kumar Tyagi, told FE. Through their rural entrepreneurs CSC will set up these plans in villages depending upon the mineral contamination profile. The full plant set-up costs around `4 lakh, he added.
The agency has developed various technologies to filter water and make it safe for drinking. For instance, preparation of composite polyamide RO membrane for brackish water desalination, ultra-filtration (UF) membrane assisted device for removal of iron, solar power driven portable domestic brackish water reverse osmosis (RO) technology, domestic water purification device based on photo-catalysis using solar light and fluoride detection kit for ground water.
CSCs will be on the front of driving the fight for clean water. The idea is that since the government is committed to providing safe drinking water, CSC with assistance from institutions like BARC will leverage indigenous technologies to offer water at very economical prices in villages. This will not just fulfil the government s social responsibilities, but will also help in expanding the business profile and services of rural entrepreneurs, Tyagi said.
The pilot project will probably be launched by next month. After this, installation of water filtration plants in 50,000 villages will start in phases, he added.
CSCs were formed as part of the government s National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). They are ICT-enabled front-end service delivery points for villages providing the government, financial, social and private sector services in agriculture, health, education, entertainment, FMCG products, banking, insurance, pension, utility payments, etc.
At present, there are over three lakh CSCs in the country with over 2.5 lakh in villages. These centres work under the CSC e-governance Services India, a special purpose vehicle set up by the IT ministry.