WhatsApp, CSC Launch a Chatbot to Promote Digital Literacy and Rural Entrepreneurship


Programs such as Digital Beti will be available in English, Hindi and seven regional languages.

WhatsApp has teamed up with the Common Services Centers (CSC) to open a network for citizens to receive digital literacy services and resources around the country. The goal of this initiative is to bridge the digital divide and promote rural entrepreneurship. Programs such as Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) and Digital Beti will be available in English, Hindi and seven other regional languages.

The goal of the Facebook collaboration between WhatsApp and CSC is to empower rural communities by providing them with digital skills and also to create livelihoods by promoting rural entrepreneurship. This is being done in the light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted education and skills development initiatives across the country.

People can send ‘Namaste’ to CSC Academy’s official WhatsApp account at 9999189321, in order to access details about course modules of flagship programmes like Digital Beti and PMGDISHA.

Shivnath Thukral, Chief Public Policy Officer, WhatsApp India, said that WhatsApp will continue to invest in partnerships to help entrepreneurs learn new digital skills for India to grow.

“We’re delighted to partner with CSC to support rural women entrepreneurs and help deliver on CSC’s goal of digital literacy,” Thukral said. “As more of our conversations move online during this period of physical distancing, WhatsApp is becoming a preferred platform for conversations between businesses and customers, governments and citizens, and so on.”

About 500 unique users have accessed CSC’s WhatsApp chatbot and 10 million users are expected to use it by August 2021, according to a press release. The Digital Beti initiative aims to train 5,000 rural entrepreneurs in digital literacy in more than 3,000 villages across 10 Indian states, while the PMGDISHA initiative focuses on digitally literating at least 40% of rural households.

Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC SPV, said in a statement that PMGDISHA was being implemented by CSCs across the country. “Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, training has been suspended across the country. The ability to deliver digital literacy modules through WhatsApp will help us in the extension of the programme to those still unreached in rural as well as urban areas,” Tyagi said. “The partnership will redefine the delivery model of education and skill-related content, especially for rural India.”