Fostering Rural Digital Empowerment with Gramin Mitra Initiative – A Door Step Delivery of Government Services

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Panjim: The Gramin Mitra Initiative – A Door Step Delivery of Government Services, a landmark program by the Department of Information Technology, Electronics & Communication, aimed at bridging the digital divide and promoting digital empowerment in rural Goa, was launched on 14th August 2023 at the hands of Honourable Chief Minister of Goa Dr. Pramod Sawant in the distinguished presence of Honourable Minister for IT, E&C, Printing & Stationary, and Tourism, Shri. Rohan Khaunte, Union Minister Shripad Naik and Rajya Sabha MP Sadanand Shet Tanvade at the Durbar Hall, Raj Bhavan-Dona Paula, Goa.

The event was graced by distinguished guests of honor including Dr. Puneet Kumar Goel, IAS, Chief Secretary, Government of Goa; Shri. Sanjay Kumar Rakesh, MD & CEO, CSC eGovernance Services Ltd; Shri. Sanjeev Ahuja, IAS, Secretary, Information & Technology, Electronics & Communication; and Shri. Suneel Anchipaka, IAS, Director, Information & Technology, Electronics & Communication.

Gramin Mitra is an ambitious program launched by the Government of Goa to foster rural digital empowerment and drive inclusive growth. Through strategic partnerships and initiatives, the program aims to provide access to technology, digital literacy, and e-governance services to rural communities across the state thereby accelerating the overall socio-economic development.

*Speaking at the launch event, the Honourable Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant said, “The launch of the Gramin Mitra Initiative marks a significant step towards bridging the divide between rural and urban Goa. The program aims to empower rural communities with access to information and opportunities that can transform their lives and drive socio-economic growth. By bringing selected government services to their doorsteps, the initiative saves residents time and resources and ensures that no one is left behind in the digital age. The Gramin Mitra project is poised to revolutionize the way public services are delivered in Goa, enabling rural communities to reap the benefits of technology and innovation. Through this initiative, the Government of Goa reaffirms its commitment to inclusive development and the overall well-being of its citizens. With improved access to essential services, rural Goa will witness enhanced productivity, increased quality of life, and greater participation in the state’s overall development. This transformative initiative will create new opportunities, foster entrepreneurship, and contribute to the sustainable growth of rural communities. By empowering rural residents through the Gramin Mitra Initiative, the Government of Goa showcases its dedication to building a more inclusive and prosperous society for all.”*

*Honourable Minister for IT, E&C, Printing & Stationary, and Tourism, Shri. Rohan Khaunte added, “The Gramin Mitra Initiative is an important step towards achieving a digital-first state, and we are committed to working closely with our partners to ensure its success. The program will help us accelerate the delivery of e-governance services to rural areas across the state. The implementation of the Gramin Mitra project demonstrates the Government of Goa’s commitment to improving accessibility and convenience for its citizens. By bringing government services directly to people’s doorsteps, the government aims to enhance public service delivery and foster a digital and inclusive governance system.”*

This innovative initiative allows individuals to request public services by simply calling the dedicated Call Centre Number, which operates from 8 AM to 8 PM, seven days a week.

Once a resident makes a request through the Call Centre for a specific public service, a Gramin Mitra, will visit the resident’s home. The Gramin Mitra will assist the resident in applying for the desired service and collect any prescribed fees or physical documents if required. The Gramin Mitra will then proceed to deposit these documents with the respective departments and ultimately deliver the service or certificate to the resident’s doorstep.

To facilitate the efficient management of the Gramin Mitra project, the State Government will establish a call centre that will receive and record all calls, maintain logs, and provide other necessary support services as needed. Additionally, call centre executives, trained by the State Government under the supervision of DITE&C, will respond to the calls and provide assistance in explaining the service delivery mechanism.

State Government will also be responsible for the design and development of an Online Slot Booking Management System to facilitate the booking of service slots. Moreover, various stakeholders will implement a Customer Relationship Management system to ensure smooth operation of the project.

Recognizing the importance of trained personnel, State Government, in coordination with the respective departments of DITE&C, will provide the necessary training and capacity building for the Gramin Mitra (Digital Cadets) who will be deployed through the Common Services Centres (CSCs). These diligent cadets will be equipped with the required IT gadgets to efficiently deliver services to applicants.

An Allocation of Work Committee, established by State Government, will oversee the geographical allocation of tasks among appointed Gramin Mitra in the districts of North Goa and South Goa and all the talukas. This allocation ensures optimal coverage and service delivery to every corner of the state.

In an effort to enhance the delivery of services at the grass root level under Goa Online through Common Service Centers (CSCs), The CSC project was initially launched in June 2018 with the aim of streamlining and improving the provision of services of the Revenue Department. Since then, the Government has expanded the project to include 170 plus state government services, which are now available across 8 CSCs of the Government of Goa.

This initiative will ensure that individuals residing in remote or rural areas can access essential government services conveniently without the need to travel long distances. With the introduction of the Gramin Mitra project, the Government of Goa reaffirms its commitment to improving service delivery and ensuring accessibility for all citizens. This initiative is a testament to the government’s dedication to a digital and inclusive governance system.

As part of the launch, various initiatives and projects under the Gramin Mitra were unveiled, showcasing the government’s commitment to digital empowerment and socio-economic development in rural Goa.

This sets an exemplary model for other states to follow in achieving digital empowerment and bridging the digital divide.

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