GUWAHATI, April 12 - Common Services Centres (CSC) scheme, Assam and Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) have joined hands to reach out to the vulnerable sections across the state in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The strategy involves the information and communications technology (ICT) lease model, catering to essential services like banking services, information dissemination, counselling and telemedicine, e-Pashu Chikitsa (vet care), e-awareness, e-training, etc.�
The e-help initiative which is a convergence of the efforts of over 6,000 CSCs and 33 District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) will disseminate advisories and other vital information through direct and indirect modes such as live webcasting, call, SMS, WhatsApp, etc.�
The state government had issued a notification (vide HLA 248/2020/6, dated 18th March 2020) titled the �Assam COVID-19 Regulations, 2020�, citing the responsibilities of various stakeholders in the management of COVID-19 response under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.�
�To streamline the e-information dissemination, ASDMA has tied up with the Common Services Centres across the State. This initiative will also strengthen awareness among the community through area-specific requirement towards COVID-19�response,� Pankaj Chakravarty, state project coordinator, ASDMA told�The Assam Tribune.
The initiative will also focus on mental healthcare aspects of citizens, especially the elderly and children through tele-psycho counselling (video-based interaction.�
Healthcare of farmers� livestock through e-Pashu Chikitsa (video-based interaction), disbursement of DBT under Garib Kalyan Scheme and other banking services through CSE Bank Correspondence and DigiPay, and use of CSCs as stocking and distribution points of essential commodities are also being incorporated in the initiative.
�Staying at home for long times and buried an avalanche of information � often unreliable - could lead to fear, anxiety, distressed behaviour and trauma. Villages typically have a higher population percentage of the elderly, lower literacy levels and an inadequate healthcare system. While the government is taking stringent actions to contain the spread of the pandemic, ASDMA will disseminate information among the community and enhance their awareness at this critical hour,� he said.
The masses will be kept informed about the dos and don�ts and various advisories issued by ASDMA and health department, besides dissemination of information among the volunteers who would be involved in wide-ranging functions.
�Pyscho-counseling and telemedicine is another novel aspect through which ASDMA in collaboration with CSCs will ensure that patients get doctors� advice through live video interaction about non-emergency medical problems. DDMAs and ASDMA field officers will coordinate with the health department for arranging appointments of psychologists and healthcare experts for the rural communities,� Chakravarty said.�
CSCs in collaboration with ASDMA will also provide banking services in all the districts of the state. There are 667 CSCs in the state which are working as banking correspondence agents for 347 scheduled banks and 320 commercial banks.�
Further, about 6,000 CSCs are in a position to provide banking services through Digipay - an Aadhar-enabled payment system that enables CSCs to cater to the needs of financial services in far-flung and banking-deprived areas of the country.�
�Starting April, when money will be transferred into the accounts of farmers and also those under Jan Dhan, there will be a heavy rush for cash withdrawal. Banking services provided by CSCs in the villages will not only reduce crowding in banks but also reach the people without breaking the social distancing rules,� he said.�
CSCs will also be utilised as stocking and distribution points for essential commodities including groceries and vegetables through home delivery (using SMS/WhatsApp) in coordination with the DDMA field officers.
Fighting COVID-19 pandemic