08 October 2011:- Bailout to Khidmat Centres:-In a major relief to around 700 youth, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today directed a monthly stipend of Rs 5500 for each Khidmat centre in J&K. This follows the recommendations of the core committee set up for the purpose by the Chief Minister. The committee comprised Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Commissioner/Secretary, PDD, Higher Education and Secretary IT, to address the problems of Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) and to ensure a substantial livelihood to them. A delegation of VLEs had met the Chief Minister, the minister for IT and senior government officers requesting them to address their problems. Taking cognizance of grievances of VLEs, the Chief Minister had also chaired a meeting along with the Minister for IT on August 2, 2011 wherein the core committee was constituted. The Khidmat Centers, it may be recalled here, are mandated to provide Government to Citizen (G2C) and Business to Citizen (B2C) services at village level. Upon achieving full functionality, the centres will also provide online services like air/railway ticketing, internet surfing, financial services, Result/Exam notifications, e-learning etc at affordable charges besides, many off-line services like Desktop Publishing (DTP), Digital Photography, Scanning and CD writing, JK Bank loan documentation, Mobile Bills/ recharging etc. The scheme envisages the sustainability of Khidmat Centre and subsistence of VLEs through a price discovery mechanism arrived at between Government, J&K Bank & VLEs. But this involves the delivery of public services (e-services) through electronic medium. Since the creation of e-services is under the implementation by the government, the VLEs are unable to generate the expected level of revenues at the Khidmat Centres. Under the new framework, a monthly financial assistance of Rs 5500 will be given to the VLEs - Rs.3000 in the form of direct financial assistance and the balance Rs 2500 towards the adjustment of loan given by J&K Bank for infrastructure development at the Centres. The hard holding support Rs 3000 per month is expected to address the subsistence requirements of the VLEs to a large extent. The scheme is an important component of National e-Governance Programme (NeGP). The scheme envisages the creation of Service Centres at Village level for delivery of identified government and private services through electronic medium. 24 May 2010:- Mr.Ruhullah launches Khidmat Education Services.Khidmat Initiative a role model for others to follow Drabu.Keen to bring the state of Jammu and Kashmir on the IT map of India and ensuring e-learning services to rural youth, J&K Bank in collaboration with the state’s IT ministry announced the launch of Khidmat Education Services today here at SKICC. The service is a part of the ambitious Khidmat Centre initiative, a government of India project overseen by Ministry of IT, J&K and executed by J&K Bank, the implementing agency for the project in the state of J&K.
Launching the service formally, Ruhullah, Minister for IT, who was also the Chief Guest on the occasion, described the project take off as a dream come true. “At the initial stage it looked like the project will never take a practical shape but thanks to J&K Bank for their unmatched and relentless support for displaying outstanding implementing capabilities. And today as I speak to you more than 350 Khidmat Centers are already operational”, he said.
The idea of Khidmat Education Services materialized after J&K Bank, premier educational institutions and their governing bodies like IGNOU, Kashmir University, Board of School Education, Directorate of School Education, and Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE) expressed their willingness to be part of this revolutionary exercise. Senior officials from these institutions signed MOUs with Khurshid A. Pandit, Vice-President J&K Bank and Director on Board of National e-Governance Initiative in presence of Aga Syed Ruhullah, IT Minister, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Chairman & CE, J&K Bank, Prof. V.N Rajashekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor, IGNOU, Professor Riyaz Punjabi, Vice Chancellor Kashmir University and Atul Duloo, Commissioner/ Secretary IT.
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Chairman, J&K Bank said that Khidmat centers provided an ideal and easily accessible alternative services delivery mechanism to people in rural areas. “The best thing about this project is that it is driven by younger generation. J&K Bank has utilized CSC to encourage youth into such novel and IT-driven ventures with a broader vision to nurture entrepreneurship in the state”, Dr Drabu stated.
He expressed hope that the availability of varied governmental and non-governmental services at the Khidmat Centers would turn these centers into centers of business and social service. “I am sure Khidmat centers will become for the government, its departments and even banks what ATMs have become for the bank branches.
He expressed his satisfaction over the way J&K Bank has ensured smooth implementation of the Khidmat Initiative in the state “despite RBI articulating reservations in the initial stage of the project implementation”. “RBI’s apprehensions stand cleared today as J&K Bank with due support and guidance from Ministry of IT has carved a success story out of it and a model worth for others to follow”, Drabu emphasized.
Dr Drabu invited a huge applaud from the audience when he said that he envisioned Khidmat Centre Initiative as a state’s e-Governance company. “I believe it is time for J&K Bank to move out of the project. Youngsters (VLEs running the Khidmat centers) must own this project. In fact, I would like them not to restrict it to e-governance only but ensure new delivery mechanisms based on public-private partnership”, Drabu stressed.
V.N Rajashekharan Pillai, VC IGNOU in his address branded Khidmat Centers as vehicles of education. “Inclusive growth is possible through inclusive education. And Khidmat centers have the potential to expose rural youth to modern, skill-oriented and entrepreneurship encouraging courses outside the confines of modes of formal education”, said he.
Prof. Riyaz Punjabi, Vice Chancellor, Kashmir University portrayed the Bank’s intervention in CSC project as a quantum jump from a commercial organization to development and socially relevant institution.
Dr. Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, IFLS Education & Technology Services while laying emphasis on the massive potential of CSCs for employment generation, informed the gathering that each CSC in Kerala is employing seven people. He also suggested use of Khidmat centers for digitizing the government data in the state’s quest for e-governance.
“Rural youth are competent and vibrant but lack opportunity. CSC is an enabler to bridge the gap of availability of opportunity” he said.
Others present on the occasion included A.K Mehta, Executive Director, J&K Bank, top officials of J&K Bank, IT ministry, University of Kashmir, IGNOU, BOSE, Education Department and BOPEE.
18 Apr 2010:- In a recent development that will have far reaching consequences on the growth of IT as an industry in the state, Mr. Khursheed A Pandit , Vice president, J&K Bank was appointed as a Director on the Board of CSC e-Governance India Limited. He shall be on the Board of the company for a period of three years, sources in the bank said. The said company is a central government undertaking overseeing the implementation of E-governance project all over India.
16 Apr 2010 :- J&K Bank Khidmat Centres to provide basic banking facilities.RBI allows bank to utilize CSCs as business correspondents.
The appointment comes in the wake of the Bank acquiring a certain portion of the equity of the company. It is pertinent to mention that J&K bank is the only bank in the country mandated to implement the CSC project. Mr Khursheed Pandit heads this project named as Khidmat Centre initiative by the bank.
Confirming this, Pandit said he was honored to have been nominated on the Board of Directors. “I am thankful to the J&K Bank management for the faith they have shown in me and I will try my best to respond to that faith,” By being part of a national initiative at the apex level, I will try my best to bring the international best practices in e-governance to the state.”, he added.
J&K Bank branch network got a big boost when Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its unique decision permitted J&K Bank to utilize the services of common service centres (CSCs), named as Khidmat Centres, as it’s Business Correspondents (BC) across the state. The Bank received a communiqué from RBI in this regard a few days back.
Under the Business Correspondent model banking, all basic banking services offered by J&K Bank would be available to the customers at Khidmat Centres.
The move is seen as an exceptionally encouraging gesture towards J&K Bank’s reaching out to all mission as over 1100 more branches would be added to the already existing almost 600 business units across the country. Notably, these Khidmat centres, out of which over 300 have already been established would be exclusively established in J&K state particularly in remote areas under the National e-Governance project. This would further scale up the efforts of financial inclusion.
“It is an alternative delivery mechanism for financial services which leverages the strength of the existing formal financial channels even as it retains the reach and method of informal finance,” said Dr Haseeb A Drabu, chairman and CEO of the bank. RBI, he said, acknowledged the low level of financial intermediation and provided an opportunity that will help in 100 percent financial inclusion.
Notably, J&K Bank is the only financial institution in the country to implement the National e-governance project of Government of India. Given the intent of central government to merge and implement all the rural development schemes through these Common Service Centres, their number is expected to surge to 4300 by 2013.
The scheme fits in the planning of Dr Drabu who in last five years has been creating a new financial architecture of the state. “In next three to five years we are looking at a scenario in which you will have core banking of the state with the JKB and all other financial services with its subsidiary J&K Bank Financial Services Ltd,” said Drabu. These will include CSC as well. Bank has already purchased a one percent stake in the National e-governance Company.
Notably, the bank named the CSCs as Khidmat Centres and branded the stores in such a way that they look same everywhere. It sought applications from aspiring entrepreneurs and got the best of the lot at village level. Selected lot got the design about the kiosk and all the equipments were purchased in bulk thus reducing basic costs. Every unit cost Rs 1.75 lakhs and the entrepreneur had to pay ten percent with 90 percent coming as loan at eight percent payable in six years with moratorium for six months on principal and interest.
These CSCs shall become viable agencies for public empowerment at grass-root level. These would help the bank to deliver core banking services to the people at their door-step while bringing more and more public spaces within the fold of formal financial channels.
Besides, these centres create employment at grass-root level and throw opportunities for youth, particularly from rural areas.