The E-Mitra programme, has its roots in the earlier Lokmitra (Urban) Kiosks &Jan Mitra (Rural) Kiosks launched as a pilot programme by the Rajasthan Government with a modest 4 services and a total of 25 kiosks across the state. In 2005, the DoIT Rajasthan, decided to merge the 2 entities and rolled out the E-Mitra programme with a state wide rollout of 500 kiosks in the rural and urban areas of Rajasthan. By 2010, the number of state wide kiosks doubled upto 1000 with a large number of services from the private sector being also facilitated through the network.
At present, Aksh has more than 700 e-kiosks with a presence across all districts in Rajasthan with services ranging from online payment of utility bills, passport application form submissions & character verification certificates to Aadhaar cards, Bhamashah IDs and banking services which are part of the ambitious financial inclusion project. The average cumulative revenue collected through all the combined kiosks is well over INR 2300 crores for the past year. Aksh is also looking at ways to introduce banking services over the e-kiosks facilitating widespread banking amenities in the rural areas.
Aksh in its current association will manage these kiosks through a vast network of individual kiosk holders who will administer these services at the local level apart from the existing kiosks which the company runs in the state. The company will setup, train and deploy these kiosks which will be run by local residents. The company views this as an opportunity to promote rural entrepreneurs to use this network to promote their businesses. The company has also aligned special incentives for people who promote the spirit of innovation and help bridge the rural digital divide and drive greater e-governance, private and public services to far off rural communities who have not had proper access to these services ever.
Mr. Lokesh Khandelwal- Project Head at Aksh said that “The Company is one of the first private entities to envision the scope of e-governance in the state and started the pilot programme, Gramdoot which was launched by Aksh in the year 2002. Today, Aksh is one of the largest private entities involved with the E-Mitra project and has one of the largest revenue contributions to the entire project. 1 Stop Aksh aims to have more than 10000 e-kiosks in the state making it the single largest revenue generating entity by the year 2016. ”.
The company’s immediate plan is to roll out kiosks in the regions which currently have a low density of kiosks in its adjoining 50 kms radius and then gradually keep driving up the number in the months to come. The company has already started work for the next phase of expansion and is receiving numerous applications from potential kiosk holders in Rajasthan. Each application goes through a strict verification check along with a physical verification to ensure strict compliance across all of its kiosks. The company is also looking at opportunities to work cohesively with leading NGO’s and civic bodies to provide proper training and skill development workshops to its kiosk holders. Aksh has also committed in providing some kiosks free of charge to women and elderly citizens in the state to enhance the quality of life of people who are in need the most.