Emerging Entrepreneurs

How this entrepreneur from Rajasthan village connects with local people

S Ronendra Singh | Updated on November 11, 2019 Published on November 11, 2019

Entrepreneur Gokul Saini at the training centre at Bansur, Alwar district in Rajasthan   -  Kamal Narang

Gokul Saini runs common service centre that provides digital literacy training

Kanchan in her early 20s has done her graduation and now works in a rural business process outsourcing (BPO) unit and is a support system for her family. She bears her younger brother’s school fee apart from other household needs from the monthly salary of ₹10,000.

There are nine other such women who work in the same place coming from the same village and they all are thankful to Gokul Saini, who set up the BPO a few years ago. This small BPO is part of the Common Service Centre (CSC) set up by Gokul, a village level entrepreneur (VLE).

Kanchan and her colleagues are grateful to Gokul for providing them with such opportunities, so they can be a support system to their families. Some girls are the only earner in their families and some are the second breadwinners for their families.

“This 10-seater BPO employs only women, who work between 9 am and 5 pm. We also have a computer lab that can seat 30 people with 30 computers and we conduct online exams here from time to time,” says Gokul.

Gokul is one of those few to quit a government job after working for around a year and start a CSC.

“I joined as a data entry operator and by now my salary would have been ₹26,000 per month, but today I am paying more than that to some of my employees,” he says, adding he earns a lot more now.

Gokul, in his mid-30s now, started the CSC as a small shop around nine years ago, but today he has a three-storey building from where he operates in Bansur town in Alwar district in Rajasthan.

There is another campus that he has built on a piece of ancestral land that houses classrooms for digital literacy programmes for locals at Bansur and also an LED bulbs assembly room; a sewing machine room where around 10 women workers make uniforms for various factories; and a Stree Swabhiman room, where Gokul’s wife leads a team of women in making sanitary napkins.

Tech-savvy entrepreneur

An M.Tech, Gokul is well-versed in the latest technologies and this helps him win the latest projects that come for CSCs, including training people from nearby villages on cashless transactions and online payment platforms during the time of demonetisation.

“We trained around 64,000 people as part of digital literacy training programme and cashless transactions in a span of few months during the demonetisation days in 2016,” says Gokul. According to him, making people in and around Bansur digitally literate was his core job.

He and his team have trained 1.25 lakh youngsters, many of whom are employees of multinational companies.

Apart from that, every CSC project, whether it is related to PMGDisha, pension payment, banking, air/train ticketing, LPG booking or Aadhaar, Gokul and his team of around 40 people have worked to help get the tasks done for the villagers.

The daily transactions from his centre range from ₹25,000 to ₹35,000, says Gokul. Soon, they will also work on economic survey too, once they get the go-ahead from the Central government.

Digital village

Another interesting project Gokul has undertaken is the creation of a digital village near his centre, which has Wi-Fi, street lights put up and a few computers installed so that the children can become digitally literate from an early stage.

The best part about this village is that more than 90 per cent of the women and girls are working towards digital literacy and are interested in learning new things. But, sadly, the men from this village are not showing much interest.

“Most of them are daily labourers and men who don’t have work are playing cards the whole day. The labourers come back in the evening and they consume liquor with that money, so most of the households are run by women only. I am trying my best to teach the young boys here so that they don’t follow their father’s footsteps,” Gokul says.

That is why he has started an open library at this village, under a banyan tree, and makes sure that the kids and young boys come to pick up a book, a periodical or a newspaper — whatever they want to read and spend a few hours there.

“It is my social responsibility to make these young kids follow the right path to become good citizens. Youngsters today need support and guidance as otherwise they will start committing crimes,” he says.

Now that he has established good connection with the local people, is joining politics his goal? Gokul laughs off the question and says, “I never thought of this.”

Published on November 11, 2019
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