WhatsApp partners with Common Services Centers for a digital literacy service chatbot

NEW DELHI: Facebook owned messaging giant WhatsApp said on Thursday that it has partnered with Common Services Centers (CSC) for a WhatsApp chatbot for citizens to receive digital literacy services and resources with an aim to bridge the digital divide and spur rural entrepreneurship.

The government describes CSC as a ‘strategic cornerstone’ of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), approved by the government in May 2006, as part of its commitment in the National Common Minimum Programme to introduce e-governance on a massive scale.

The CSCs aim to provide cost-effective video, voice and data content and services, in the areas of e-governance, education, health, telemedicine, entertainment as well as other private services.

People can send a “Namaste” at CSC Academy’s official WhatsApp account +91 99991 89321, to access details and course modules of flagship programmes like the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) and the Digital Beti initiative in English, Hindi and seven other regional languages.

WhatsApp said this partnership will serve the dual purpose of empowering rural communities by providing digital skills at their doorstep in addition to creating livelihood through promotion of rural entrepreneurship.

Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC SPV said: “PMGDISHA, an initiative of the government to provide digital literacy to 6 crore rural citizens, is being implemented by CSCs across the country. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, training has been suspended across the country. The ability to deliver digital literacy modules through WhatsApp will help us in extension of the programme to those still unreached in rural as well as urban areas. The partnership will redefine the delivery model of education and skill related content, especially for rural India.”

WhatsApp said CSC’s WhatsApp chatbot is expected to be used by 10 million beneficiaries by August 2021. The Digital Beti initiative aims to train 5,000 rural entrepreneurs on digital literacy in over 3,000 villages across 10 Indian states, while the PMGDISHA initiative focuses on making at least 40% rural households digitally literate.

Shivnath Thukral, head of public policy at WhatsApp India said WhatsApp will continue to invest in partnerships to help entrepreneurs learn new digital skills for India to grow. “We’re delighted to partner with CSC to support rural women entrepreneurs and help deliver on CSC’s goal of digital literacy. As more of our conversations move online during this period of physical distancing, WhatsApp is becoming a preferred platform for conversations between businesses and customers, governments and citizens, and so on.”

WhatsApp said it is also working with NITI Aayog’s WEP programme and this partnership expands on its efforts to play an ‘important’ role in driving digital and financial inclusion across India.

WhatsApp partners with Common Services Centers for a digital literacy service chatbot WhatsApp partners with Common Services Centers for a digital literacy service chatbot Reviewed by TechCO on 9/17/2020 Rating: 5

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