Internet cafes become facilitation centres

By K M Sree | TNN

KOZHIKODE, India, 18 November 2012

Internet cafes, once the centres of attraction for net-savvy and educated youth, are now getting transformed into online facilitation centres to attract aged customers. Nearly half of the internet cafes in the city have already adapted to the changing situations to transform as e-passport helpline centers and e-filing centres offering assistance to e-illiterate persons.

“The change was drastic. Earlier, only youngsters came here for browsing the net. Now not many of our customers belong to the below 35 age group,” said K P Narayanan, operator of Cafe Solutions internet cafe.

With easy accessibility of internet connection at home, institutions, and work places, the number of youngsters approaching the internet cafes dropped.

According to cafe owners, youngsters do not require their service. “However, the middle-aged and aged, especially socially- and economically-backward families, are approaching us with requests to help them to e-file their application forms. E-krishi and e-commerce are also attracting many middle-aged persons to our cafes, which have changed their face as facilitation centres,” said a cafe owner.

E-filing introduced by government departments and online application facility for availing passport has helped the owners to survive. Besides, the government decision to allot various central and state government projects through Akshaya Centres has also inspired many internet cafe owners to transmute their cafe to Akshaya centre.

“Government is allotting UID enrolment, e-district project, RSBY registration and many other projects to Akshaya,”said T Rajan, who has transformed his internet cafe to an Akshaya centre. “Over 200 internet cafes operate in the city of which nearly 100 have already adopted the changes,” he said, adding that a few who were yet to identify the changing trend were on the verge of closure.

The commencement of passport seva kendras have also helped the internet cafe owners to earn a good living. “Earlier, many persons used to extend paid assistance to the applicants for manually filling their passport application forms near the passport office at Eranjipalam. But the situation has changed now. Computer centres at West Hill are now offering paid assistance to those who reach the passport seva kendra for filing online application,” said P Remya, staff of an online passport application filing centre.


Copyright © 2012 Times Internet Ltd Published in Times of India Posted in Tech » Tags: , ,

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