Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will provide financial support to village level entrepreneurs who operate the Common Service Centres that act as access points for delivery of electronic services.

An MoU to this effect was signed between SIDBI and Common Service Centres (CSC) in the presence of Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad here today.

The existing VLEs (village level entrepreneurs) who have been operating CSCs for at least one year and looking to expand their operations are eligible for availing the financial support under the MoU, which is initially eyeing 50,000 VLEs.

“Indians trust entrepreneurship and they are entrepreneurs by temperament. This MoU will promote entrepreneurship in CSCs further by supporting their expansion,” Prasad said.

CSCs are working in 1.8 lakh gram panchayats and are set to reach 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by end of this year.

Positioned as strategic cornerstones of Digital India programme, as many as 2.91 lakh CSCs operate in the country today.

The MoU with SIDBI seeks to enhance financial viability of the CSCs by including additional offerings in their bouquet of products that currently includes services like banking, pensions, digital literacy and telemedicine.

Under the direct financing window, CSC SPV will approve the list of VLEs who require the financial support. To avail the loan, the VLEs need to submit their CSC project with maximum project outlay of Rs 3.50 lakh and term loan requirement of up to Rs 2 lakh per project.

Prasad today also met Dean Douglas, global CEO of Syniverse Technologies Services, which provides mobile communications solutions.

“We are investing more in India and we are focused more on India. We have been in India for 10 years and we think we can do a lot to help with communications and technologies that exist, particularly in rural India,” Douglas told reporters after the meeting.