“What should be the charges for the services offered so that it’s affordable yet does not impact the financial sustainability?” – This was the question in our last JSK review meeting held on 8th June 2013 to mark one year of successful operation of JSKs.
Currently, for financial sustainability of centers, there is nominal charge for these services e.g. a) RTI formulation – Rs 10/- plus print out per page as applicable.
b) MNREGA – Rs 20 for online filing and printout of application.
Marginal utility of Rs 20 is quite high for a laborer who has got no work/ earning and comes down to JSK for filing application for work. On the other hand if this service is offered for free , it would affect the financial sustainability of the centers since JSKs are based on self-sustainable model.
Pilot at JSK Unnao:
In this pilot we would make one service – online application of work under NREGA for free at Unnao center. Center will file the application for work online and will provide the unique application no. to the laborer for free. We would have to convince the concerned BDO (Block Development Officer) to accept the unique application no. instead of application print outs. In this way we can reduce the cost involved in the print out.
Also, since filing for work online does not take much time hence it should not lead to considerable loss of revenue for the center.
Additionally to compensate the loss in revenue, we’ll be adding a new revenue based service to the center – Color passport size photos. For which we’ll provide color printer and digital camera and necessary training to Dhanpati (JSK Unnao) for free.
Idea is to earn profit from color photo service and cross-subsidize essential service – online work application.
The results of this experiment are yet to be seen. If this experiment is successful, it would be very useful for the laborers/ villagers and we would subsequently roll it out at other centers as well.*
* I’ll post the outcome of this experiment soon.