SESSION NAME: MOBILE FOR GOVERNANCE & SMART SETTLEMENTS
Moderator: Dr. Amir Ullah khan, Reserach Director, Aequitas Consulting
Jury Expert: Rajen Varada, Co-Founder & Director, Technology for the People (TFTP)
Panelist: Ms. Reena Malhotra, Director (Networks and Technologies) DOT, Ministry of Communications & IT, Govt. of India
Moderated by Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, Research Director at Aequitas Consulting, the session ‘Mobile for Governance and Smart Settlements’ was part of a day-long schedule of the mBillionth Awards 2016, organised by Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) in partnership with the Google India and Qualcomm, on July 23, 2016. The event was hosted at Eros Hotel in New Delhi.
“Digital, digitisation and digital empowerment is not just another need, it’s about deducting a step from these processes,” said Khan, commencing the session with positive energy.
Meanwhile, Jury Expert Rajen Varada, Co-founder & Director of Technology for the People, congratulated the nominees and noted, “The ability to connect with the government is what we are looking for [in innovators].”
With that thought the floor was opened for mBillionth Finalists from the categories of Governance and Smart Settlements to present their innovations.
Ramesh Masthipuram, while representing the Hyderabad Police, introduced the audience to Hawk Eye, an app introduced in December 2014 by the Hyderabad City Police to bridge the gap between the police and the citizens. “The app encourages the police to become citizen police and helps communicate the idea that the police is with the public — anytime and always” said Masthipuram.
The app allows citizens to file FIRs; know the status of their reports; dial 100; know the location of the nearest police station; and report traffic violations, crime and complaints against the police. The app also allows the citizen to comment on the good work done by the police. “The app will soon integrate a feature for reporting lost articles or documents and stolen vehicles,” Masthipuram added. Further apprising the audience with statistics, Masthipuram states that 2.44 lakh people (5 per cent of Hyderabad’s population and over 30 per cent of Hyderabad’s Internet users) are using the Hawk Eye app.
Najmur Rahman, representing MPONLINE Ltd., thanked mBillionth for giving them the opportunity and introduced Dheeraj who initiated the presentation by introducing MP Online, an e-Governance portal of the Madhya Pradesh government.
“The portal (with a rating of 4.2 out of 5 on Google Play) is aimed at bringing citizens from inline to online,” said Dheeraj. MPOnline has presence across all 51 districts and over 350 tehsils of the state, delivering its various services through more than 10,000 kiosks. MPOnline provides a plethora of services for various government departments ranging from school admissions, online assessment for recruitment and college counseling to bill payments, bookings for forest excursions, donations for religious services and admission into universities.
Girish Chaturvedi from Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) introduced the audience to the prime minister’s mission of making India a skill capital. “Only 2 per cent of India’s workforce is skilled labour,” Chaturvedi pointed, elaborating on the various features under the scheme. The major challenges initially faced by the PMKVY team was to recognise the target audience, appropriate plan to reach them and create awareness regarding the same. “We reached Cellular Data Assessment of India asking access to their audience, worked on our external communications, used eleven local languages and used relevant keywords to overcome the challenges faced by us in order to reach maximum target audience” added Chaturvedi. The Bihar mobilisation campaign run by the team was a successful one under which 75 lakh people gave missed call in response to the campaign. About 93 per cent of the respondents were unemployed.
Akash Biswas of Project Be, Dhaka (Bangladesh), presented the Khoj App, which helps in reporting and finding missing people. “Around 20,000 children go missing every year in Bangladesh; and Khoj is the first-of-its-kind app in South Asia,” said Biswas. Once a missing person is reported through the app, it automatically shares the details of the person on radio channels and its Facebook page.
Sri Nagendra of the Intelligent Transport System presented the BMTC mobile app, which has been launched to make public transport a preferred mode of travel for inhabitants of Bangalore. “Until a couple of years ago, 81 per cent of local transport users complained about no real-time information on buses,” said Nagendra.
The app has three key features —Electronic Ticket System (ETS), Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) and Passenger Information System (PIS) — which help in making the app more practical and user-friendly. As the app is GPRS enabled, it keeps real-time track on the location of buses, keeping the passengers apprised with the scheduled time, route, speed adherence and even seat availability, among other things. “There are 10,000+ online ETM and 6,400 VTUs, which has helped in an increased number of ridership to 52 lakh per day,” added Nagender.
Prashant Chandrasekaran, Co-founder & Director of ValetEZ, introduced the audience to the on-demand parking and valet services app, which is aimed at meeting the lack of parking infrastructure problem in India.
“Thirty per cent congestion on roads is due to unavailability of parking space or people looking for a parking space,” said Chandrasekaran. Elaborating on the challenges faced, he said, “Even if there is a parking facility in an area, one does not know if the space would available or not”. ValetEZ solves the problem by showing the space available and app users the option to reserve the space in advance or ask a valet to park the car. “VALETEZ is an initiative to make parking a well-managed resource and a stable infrastructure” he added.
Jubayer Hossain from VAT Checker apprised the audience with the app that allows users to check whether the value-added tax they are paying reaches the government or not. “In case of any discrepancy found, the Bangladesh government takes an action within two working days,” said Hossain. The app has 50,000 users on Android who have registered 3,000 complains so far. Action has been taken in as many as 88 per cent of the cases. “Consequently, the app has earned large revenue of 100 crore in local currency for the Bangladesh government.
Rahul from JUGNOO elaborated on how the on-demand auto rickshaw hailing app caters to the needs of daily passengers as well as auto drivers. The initial challenge faced by the team was to apprise the auto drivers with the use of smartphones to keep pace with the high-paced life of today’s commuters. Jugnoo has a presence in more than 35 cities, and a registered user base of 12,000 individuals.
Another similar commutation problem solving app is Pick Me for the commuters of Sri Lanks. Pick Me is an initiative which offers cars, auto rickshaws, vans, helicopters, boats, ambulances on demand. CEO Jiffry Zulfer said, “The app was built to cater to the problems of the Sri Lankan taxi industry; and aims to build the bond and trust between passengers and taxi drivers.” The app is available with a GPS-enabled live meter and SOS option.
The mBilliont Awards 2016 was organised by DEF with Principal Partner Google; Associate Partner Qualcomm; Strategic Partner Mint; Institutional Partner World Summit Award; Event Partner Inomy; Outreach Partner MP Post; and Country Partners dnet, Bytes for All, CAN and ICTA.