Thursday, July 8, 2021

CAG speaks about poor service quality in CSC


NEW DELHI: The countrywide auditor, in its preliminary finding, has singled out the Common Service Centre or CSC accountable for the bad excellent or fault-free provider to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's prestigious software to join 6-lakh villages with high-speed Internet.

In a 94-page draft report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) stated that notwithstanding a big fee to CSC, the protection of cable and different infrastructure was once now not determined environment friendly in more than a few circles which resulted in a negative excellent of provider at a gram panchayat or village block level.

Following the new arrangement, a price of Rs 386.42 crore and 116.50 crore was once made for a duration of July 2019 to December 2020 to CSC underneath the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY).

The association is a section of tripartite settlement for operations and renovation of optical fibre cable network, telecom gear and Wi-Fi get entry to factors between the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) and CSC carried out in July 2019 and authorized by way of the Digital Communication Commission (DCC) in September 2020.

USOF is a Rs 55,000-crore sturdy kingdom reserve for the bridging the digital divide, and is additionally funding the bold BharatNet challenge that ambitions to join 2.5 lakh gram panchayats or village blocks encompassing extra than 6 lakh villages throughout India.

In 2012, BBNL used to be shaped as a distinct motive automobile (SPV) to oversee the operations and protection of BharatNet.

The countrywide auditor, however, additionally stated that the USOF had now not finalised any device or structure to "effectively display the set up of get entry to points" until as late as December 2020, and used to be solely relying on statistics furnished with the aid of CSC.

The discovering in addition stated that "the USOF may want to now not impose a penalty" on CSC for prolong in completion of BharatNet work.

"In the absence of service-level settlement and prescribed timeline for restoration of faults and non-inclusion of penal clause, there used to be no deterrent for CSC to make certain that there is no lengthen in rectification of faults occuring in BharatNet phase- I," the CAG said, pointing out that following the loophole, BBNL was once no longer capable to grant fault-free service to its customers.

BharatNet is an essential constituent of Digital India application that pursuits to grant more than one citizen-centric offerings to 1.3 billion Indians.

CSC, in accordance to the auditor, has additionally failed to grant 10 Mbps of Internet velocity via Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) connections to country establishments such as hospitals, faculties and police stations as mandated.

Query to CSC did no longer elicit any response.

The CAG cautioned that Bharat Broadband Network must put into effect CSC to hold infrastructure as per the agreement, and delivered that non-conducting of bodily inspections resulted in insufficient monitoring of country wide optic fibre community and excellent of service.

In states such as Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra - the bodily verification was once now not upto the mark, the countrywide auditor pointed out, citing the instance of Madhya Pradesh the place solely 3% or 372 village blocks had been inspected out of 12700, and simply three inspections had been performed in Gujarat.

Separately, Bharat Broadband has additionally sought motion on CSC's discipline gadgets for substandard workmanship.

In a letter dated June 29, Delhi-based BBNL said, "it has been suggested via a number of country devices of BBNL that the fashionable practices of optic fibre cable (OFC) laying are no longer being accompanied whilst carrying out corrective protection work by using CVLEs, and introduced that problems have been mentioned in restoration of 24-core OFC faults.

Last week, the Cabinet accepted a viability hole funding of up to Rs 19,041 crore for the implementation of the BharatNet initiative thru Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mannequin in sixteen states.

The new strategy, however, is aimed to leverage the personal sector's effectivity for faster rollout of countrywide broadband community as properly as operation, maintenance, utilisation and income generation.

But enterprise sources say that the non-public gamers may additionally no longer locate the present BharatNet structure and belongings beneficial ample to improve the community or monetise.

BharatNet, getting into into a decade now, has been marred with controversies and ignored quite a few cut-off dates due to the fact its inception. While the Centre is not likely to meet the new closing date of August 2021, Prime Minister Modi for the duration of his remaining independence day tackle stated that 6 lakh villages would be linked in the subsequent 1,000 days.

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