Startups fight COVID-19: Haqdarshak launches vernacular WhatsApp chatbot for information dissemination
Haqdarshak, a rural India-focused social tech enterprise, has launched a vernacular-focused WhatsApp-based chatbot in Hindi and English. With this chatbot, Haqdarshak aims to ease information access about COVID-19 vaccines, relief schemes for individuals and MSMEs, health insurance, and the settlement of claims.
In the last few years, India has seen a rise in smartphone usage among small business owners, migrants, daily wage earners, the urban poor and rural citizens. However, according to a 2017 World Bank study, only 40 percent of Indians are able to apply for the government services and goods they need.
Moreover, access to information regarding the pandemic and its related schemes has seen multiple gaps as even those with access to sophisticated social media channels are still excluded.
With WhatsApp’s reach of 390 million in India alone, the Haqdarshak chatbot will serve as a first step to solve this information asymmetry.
Over the next six months, the chatbot will support new languages. To access the chatbot, one can either send a message to +91 93073 05995 or click this link.
Further, users are also redirected to Haqdarshak’s multilingual support helpline for vaccine registrations and scheme applications. Currently, the helpline provides support in Marathi, Hindi, and Kannada.
According to Founder and CEO Aniket Doegar, the team is looking to reach out to one crore families in the next 12 months through the chatbot and helpline service.
“Haqdarshak will be partnering with private organisations and government departments entrusted with the responsibility of the most vulnerable communities. Simply put, our product and tech team is focused on building 'tech for good' products,” he added.
Founded in 2016, Haqdarshak uses technology to ensure that citizens at the last mile get access to government and private welfare, schemes, and services. This is done through a mobile and web-SaaS platform for corporate partners, along with a training platform used by community women entrepreneurs.
Over the last five years, with a field presence in 22 Indian states, Haqdarshak has reached out to more than one million families and supported over 7,00,000 beneficiaries with welfare schemes, bringing in Rs 500 crore worth of benefits. Plus, the Haqdarshak tech platform has helped digitise 7,000 welfare schemes.
Only two months ago, the startup closed its Pre-Series A round at Rs 6.65 crore in March 2021. At the time, Haqdarshak said it will use the funding to launch and expand 'vaccination plus health insurance' coverage-focused services at the last mile with a digital push, and also invest in plug-and-play tech tools.