In a unique endeavour to provide better accessibility and a contactless way to provide citizen services in the state, the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has launched the ‘mSeva WhatApp ChatBot’, which would be immensely helpful and beneficial for general public to get their issues resolved especially amid COVID-19 pandemic. The people can access the chatbot either by giving a missed call or sending a Whatsapp message to 87509-75975.According to a Spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, Captain Amarinder Singh unveiled this ChatBot with a mission to provide better accessibility, flexibility, and a contactless way to avail services from their local governments in these trying circumstances, where everyone across the country was keeping social distance and trying to avoid outdoor activities with a sole purpose fight against coronavirus.While launching this mSeva whatsapp ChatBot, the Chief Minister said that this Seva would help citizens to file and track their grievances effortlessly in no time. He said that this ChatBot had currently been piloted in four Municipal Corporations - Phagwara, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, and 1 Municipal council - Zirakpur. As soon as the pilot project is successfully completed, Captain Amarinder Singh announces that the citizens across 167 ULBs in Punjab would be able to use the WhatsApp Chatbot to file and track their filed grievances.“Public grievance redressal in a time bound manner is of paramount importance for the Govt of Punjab. As a part of the “Digital Citizen Services First” approach, we digitized citizen-centric municipal services since 2018 and more than 10 services can be accessed online. Extending the services, we now aim at the resolution of civic complaints with the widely used messaging platform, WhatsApp.
Driving a paradigm shift from clicks to personalized seamless conversations will result in improved citizen experience and foster belongingness among citizens with speedy resolution of issues” said the Chief Minister.The Spokesperson further pointed out that the citizens could access the chatbot either by giving a missed call or sending a Whatsapp message to 87509-75975. Once the chat is initiated, the chatbot will guide them to file their complaints from a list of grievances for their specific location, attach images to support the complaints raised and track the status of each of the complaints thereby eliminating the need to visit the ULB office in person or logging in to a web portal and navigating through various screens. As citizen engagement demands ease, accessibility, greater responsiveness, and accountability from local government, mSeva WhatsApp bot will truly bring the government closer to the citizen at the convenience of their phone, he added.With more than 400 million users, India has become the largest market for WhatsApp globally. Leveraging WhatsApp’s wide reach and ease of accessibility to as many citizens as possible, Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC), Department of Local Govt, Punjab in the light of digital transformation undertook this technology-driven initiative in partnership with eGov Foundation. This is just the tip of an iceberg, as both PMIDC and eGov are already working together to expand the slew of services on mSeva WhatsApp bot, and in the next 3-4 months, the citizens across Punjab will also be able to view and make payments of their water and sewerage bills via mSeva WhatsApp Chatbot.Meanwhile, the CEO eGov Foundation Viraj Tyagi said that this step would be instrumental to revolutionize the citizen service delivery. He mentioned that improving the quality of lives in cities besides facilitating citizens with prompt services was one of the prime importance and eGov was powering this ambition with Public Digital Good- DIGIT- open-source platform.Notably, the eGov Foundation was established in 2003 by Nandan Nilekani and Srikanth Nadhamuni to partner with city administrators in their drive to leverage the transformative power of technology for the better quality of life in our cities and to make them sustainable.