Mobile Innovation in Governance & Infrastructure
The parallel session on Mobile Solutions in Governance &Infrastructure was chaired by Mr. Subho Ray, President – IAMAI and co-chaired by Ms. Tulika Pandey, Additional Director – DeitY and Govt. of India. Mr. Ray gave a brief introduction to open the session. He shared that a bill has already been passed which will force the government to start m-Governance in a time bound manner. He also shared that the government has already prepared a white paper on the delivery platform for m-Governance even before bill has been enacted.
Ms. Pandey added that the innovation required in the process would be at two levels: innovation in terms of utilizing existing resources that we have and preparing for next generation of devices. The second innovation would involve participation of society in helping to develop products based on their needs.
The juror expert for the session, Mr. Amitabh Singhal, Board of Director, ORG, PIR said that the debate as to what would happen to Internet in India would always be there. He shared that in spite of the numbers that are there, the per capita penetration of Internet is still very low in India. On the contrary, this problem has been very well solved by mobile whose penetration in the Indian scenario is tremendous. With the continued convergence of mobile andinternet we soon could reach a point or position that internet could not get on its own. Though the government is doing its job by creating the right infrastructure but this is not enough without the right content. And this is where innovators like the ones present in conference would have a definite role to play.
First speaker on the dice was Mr. Ashwin Roy Chowdhary, M-God from Bombil Media. Bombil Media has developed a lot of apps for various industries ranging from normal service class people to doctors, engineers etc. Mr. Ashwin shared details explaining how these applications can help a variety of people. He also highlighted the reasons on why these apps are not very popular. The main reasons as outlined by him were lack of expertise rather lack of interest, misconceptions regarding the cost of apps and lack of usability of app.
He introduced his product m-God as a solution for all these problems. m-God is a platform where anyone and everyone could create an app suited for his/her need. With its simple drag and drop feature, this platform eliminates the need of having any prior expertise of programming to develop a need. It takes anyone 10 minutes flat to create a standard mobile app. He also explained the process of creating the app on m-God & to everyone’s surprise it was indeed a child’s play. If thought about properly, this platform could help create very powerful apps.
The second speaker on the dice was Mr. Anil Bairwal, EWS, Association for Democratic Reforms. Mr. Bairwal can safely be calledas one of the most crafty and witty speakersat the Conference. Moving to the last slide of presentation first, Mr. Bairwal asked everyone to get the information about their current MLA or MP by sending a SMS to his software which he calls is a Mobile Watch Software and claimed that people would receive the information before the presentation ended.
Further, he shared that everyone knows the amount of corruption that has crept into the politics. More importantly correct information about candidates is not available which makes voting a biased process. And thus his team has come up with a project to provide a solution. He explained that one could send in a SMS: Myneta “pin code of your area” to 56070 and receive relevant information via SMS on their MLA/MP. He added that the service gives you prompt results.
He shared that they have a chapter in every state of India and with the help of numerous other organizations and the election commission they are able to provide this service. The SMS is only one the channels of disseminating information for them. With its push SMS service this app is certainly the need of the hour for our country.
The next speaker on the dice was Mr. Murali Akunuri, EMMS, Dept. of Rural Development,thetechnical partner for the eMMS service in Andhra Pradesh. eMMS or the Electronic Muster and Measurement System deals with the NREGA policy in AP. Earlier the process of collecting information about NREGA workers was manual and as a result,it was subject to limitations. Because of the manual process, the payment to the workers usually got delayed by 45 days or even more. Thus the Rural Development Dept. of Andhra Pradesh decided to adopt eMMS system. The basic objective of eMMS is to enable live data entry of NREGA workers so that any type of fraudulent or delays in payments could be avoided.
He added that under the project, 20000 mobile phones have been given to field assistants who are present in every gram panchayat and are responsible for the data collection of NREGA workers. The next set of phones is given to the technicalassistantsor the higher authorities who validate the data so received through SMS from field assistants. The attendance received is updated live to the system. At the same time higher officials keep visiting these fields to ensure that the data provided is authentic. At the end of the week the data is accumulated and the payments are dispatched to end user in next two to three days. With a biometric solution in the pipeline, this project has definitely helped in proper monitoring of resources in Andhra.
Next speaker on the dice was Mr. G D Dwivedi, Urja Mitra, Kanpur Electricity Supply Corporation. Stating the problem of electricity shortage in Delhi and Kanpur, Mr. Dwivedi introduced hisproject Urjamitra. He added that the main objective of the project has been to provide information to the people about power cuts if they could not supply power itself. The system includes the power substations in Kanpur, the control room and call centre. From the substations, the information of break down is passed on to the control room which it then forwards to the call centre. Form here messages are being sent to the consumers in real time.
Earlier, as is with the case of all other electricity boards in the country, the consumers were supposed to call the department to get the information about the potential breakdowns and supply of electricity. This comes is a consolation for those who are heavily dependent on the electricity supply and don’t have any power available to them. Thus they can plan in advance their chores and ensure some backup is available. This can be termed a commendable step form authorities in the wake of the fact that supply could not be increased all these years.
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Next speaker on the dice was Mr. Ashish Basnet, Vtax, FOCUSONE Nepal Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Ashish gave a brief introduction of his company as a prominent name in the field of mobile software development. He then demonstrated various other projects that they have done with the Government of Nepal in various areas. The main focus though was on one of his project done with the Department of Transport Management: VTAX or the Vehicle Tax SMS Service. It is a public service aimed atproviding all the relevant information about vehicle tax.
The service provides anytime anywhere information about vehicle tax. This has reduced the load to at the DoTM office and has saved a lot of general public’s time. Service is currently available for vehicles registered in 13 zones of Nepal and works with all major service providers in Nepal. Information can be accessed by sending a simple text message to the service number. The service is also connected to the vehicle registration system and real time updates on theregistration of any vehicle can be retrieved.
The sixth speaker on the dice was Mr. Jayendra Verma, Rural Roads Maintenance Monitoring System Phoenix Software Solutions, Madhya Pradesh. He was there to showcase his project on Rural Roads Maintenance System. They have developed this app for Madhya Pradesh Rural Development Authority.
He shared that through this app citizens can report the actual status of any road or bridge that has collapsed to their respective authority. The device uses the longitudes and latitudes data through the GPS in the phone to recognize the location of the road and also retrieves its history.After this, an option is enabled which helps the person to enter the details of the affected road. After saving this info, the camera is started and user can click the photo of the road/bridge can be clicked. This photo, with geo stamp and date and time is being send to servers. This information reaches the concerned authorities who can then take the required action. This info is also updated in the Google maps.
He added that this has helped the government to reduce the discrepancy in the construction of roads and bridges.
The last speaker of the session was Mr. Manish Maheshwari, txtWeb. Starting with a warm up exercise for the audience, Mr. Manish went on to explain the inspiration behind his company txtWeb. He presented a very interesting fact that almost 3 Billion mobile users in the world (which is by the way half of humanity) don’thave access to Internet. The main inspiration behind the project has been to provide an access to the information to all these people with the help of technology already present in their pockets, i.e. through mobile.
He shared that by sending a simple SMS, one can access information from any website of world. You send the topic you are looking for with the code word for the website and the server replies with the relevant information. You can reply with the character codes sent in the messages to get further detailson the topic. The best part of the Application is that it supports all languages.
The service is capable of sending location-enabled services like weather forecasts etc. It is essentially a platform, with the help of which developers can make apps to reach out those 3 billion people and users can access information. He also added that without much marketing efforts and with about 3000+ apps already on the board, txtWeb is connecting masses.