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6 apps that are using mobile phones to transform lives in Indian villages

Amoolya Rajappa
29th Nov 2017
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Improved internet speed is enabling efficient use of a range of new-age apps that look promising, especially in the rural scenario where the mobile revolution is fast catching up. 

Two years ago, the Union Government launched its ‘Digital India’ plan to harness digital technologies to improve the standard of living in rural India. In a step further, at the recently concluded India Mobile Congress 2017, the government also announced it would set up a high-level committee on 5G technology, and chart out a road map to explore and adopt the technology by 2020.

India remains optimistic about ‘connecting its next billion’ to benefit from the vast opportunities that internet has to offer, and Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast sees the number of internet users in India doubling by 2021, with two billion networked devices.

Improved internet speed is enabling efficient use of a range of new-age apps that look promising, especially in the rural scenario where the mobile revolution is fast catching up.

We take a look at six such apps that which are transforming transactions and simplifying lives in various sectors across rural India:

1. Agriculture: Kisan Suvidha

Launched in early 2016, this app serves as a common interface for famers and agricultural stakeholders providing regular updates on weather, market prices, etc. It also enables farmers to avail information on plant protection and advisory from government officials.

Available in five languages, the app already has more than three lakh registered users. Region-wise climate updates up to five days with added special features like extreme weather notifications help farmers a great deal, especially in the post-sowing phase.

2. Health- Suyojana 

Designed to benefit Auxiliary Nurse Midwives, who play a decisive role in ensuring better maternal health care and child care, in rural Karnataka, this app provides systematic guidelines regarding antenatal and postnatal services.

 

The step-wise directives helps ANMs to carry out examinations and investigations, and identify high-risk cases. Cutting the slack of maintaining separate registers, the app enables ANMs to consolidate all the required information by filling different applications like antenatal history, pregnancy outcome, danger signs etc.

3. Infrastructure- Meri Sadak 

Launched under the Pradhdan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Bharat Nirman initiative, the Meri Sadak app allows citizens to lodge complains about poor road infrastructure in rural areas. The app uses GPS and allows people to give appropriate feedback on broken roads by uploading pictures.

Having crossed over 10,000 downloads on Android, the app enables rural folk to track their feedback/ complain using the ‘view feedback’ option. Using Meri Sadak, people can get road-related issues solved in 60 days.

4. Inclusive development- Microlekha 

Microlekha is a 3G enabled android application aimed at making the functioning of a microfinance institution hassle-free and paperless. Designed to help rural women, the app provides information for day-to-day operations of an MFI, including registration of customers, compulsory group training, group recognition test and repayment collection.

Connected to a cloud-based server, the app stores all loan processing documents, and sends monthly instalment statements through SMS services.

5. Sanitation – mDemand 

Developed by Dhwani Rural Information Systems in collaboration with Samarthan, a Bhopal-based non-profit organisation, mDemand enables villagers to register and monitor their requests for construction of toilets in rural areas.

Designed to eliminate communication delays and aid tracking of applications in real-time, the app uses geo-referencing and lets people wanting to own a toilet upload pictures of their premises. This data, available on the dashboard of the app, can be easily accessed by officials working at the Panchayat level and Zilla Parishad authorities.

It helps them gauge the demand for toilets and make appropriate fund allocation. People can also access the implementation status of their applications on mDemand.

6. Cooperative Culture- GoCoop

GoCoop, is an online social marketplace for India’s cooperatives and community-based enterprises. It works with more than 70,000 producers, and aims to impact a million weavers and artisans working in rural areas.

The handloom sector in India is plagued with various challenges like inability to market the products nationally, high interference of middlemen, and low selling prices.

Launched to bridge the gaps, and provide a sustainable livelihood for producers, GoCoop for artisans allows registered sellers to understand sales trends, update inventories, quote prices, manage orders and track status for their products.

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