CSC partners with HelpAge to help elderly with tech

CSC partners with HelpAge India to impart digital literacy to elderly citizens

Representative Image. Credit: Pixabay Photo

IT Ministry's e-governance services arm Common Services Centre (CSC) on Thursday said that it has partnered HelpAge India to provide digital literacy to citizens above the age of 55 years through a pilot project in selected states.

The move is aimed at digital inclusion and literacy of the rural elderly, especially those disadvantaged, at a time when online and digital services have assumed paramount significance due to social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a statement said.

"As most elderly, especially those living in rural areas are not digitally literate, it is deeply impacting their way of life, accessing basic goods and services and survival," CSC CEO Dinesh Tyagi said.

"Access to digital learning will provide them with a window of hope, whereby they can carry on with their daily living and livelihood activities, without putting themselves at risk," Tyagi added.

As per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between CSC Academy, the education arm of CSC, and HelpAge India, CSC will provide digital literacy to 1,500 elderly citizens in three "aspirational districts" of Karauli in Rajasthan, Birbhum in West Bengal and Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu.

The MoU rolled out under the project 'Aalambana' of HelpAge India will be implemented in a span of one year and seeks to empower the elderly so that they can digitally avail their entitlements as well as access financial and healthcare services, the statement said.

CSC Academy Chief Operating Officer (COO) Rishikesh Patankar said CSC has been working towards digital inclusion of citizens from disadvantaged groups, through Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan.

"On the International Day of Older Persons, we are taking one step further in this direction by beginning digital literacy training for elderly citizens.

"At a time when coronavirus pandemic has necessitated social distancing for the vulnerable groups, especially elder citizens, digital literacy will enable them to access their entitlements without having to step out of home," Patankar said.

HelpAge India Mission Head Livelihoods Rajeshwar Devarakonda said that while the country has been on the digital highway, the elderly were only bystanders.

"Signing the MoU with the CSC Academy is actually a watershed moment for the rural elderly of India. This will not only help them become digitally literate, but also help them in earning their livelihoods and accessing their entitlements," Devarakonda said.

CSC Academy provides access to professional learning for learners of diverse backgrounds and educational needs.

CSC SPV plans to set up 7,000 CSC Academy centres (one in every block) across the country, out of which more than 5,000 are already in place.