Jalandhar: Since the beginning of this ‘black swan event’, it was fairly understood that the magnitude of service that was required to support citizens back on their feet could be best achieved if the samaaj, sarkaar, and bazaar came together to ensure a coordinated response reaching out to citizens in need at the very last mile. While the response of the government was at the centre of ensuring the rapid and effective response to aid citizens against the pandemic, many civil society organisations have been able to support these efforts in their own way by providing ambulance services from Jalandhar to New Delhi at only INR 11/- to serving free food to families affected by COVID. Thus, it ensured that even if anyone fell out of the government safety net, their basic needs had not gone unmet adhering to the culture of sewaa in Punjab.To honour this commitment of Jalandhar’s Civil Society, and to take a step further in realizing the goal of integrating citizen services on a digital platform in the district, the District Administration of Jalandhar developed an in-house mobile application that can collate all the work being done by the Civil Society in the city called the Jalandhar Sevak. The application is expected to create information symmetry between the government, the civil society, and the citizens enabling them to optimally utilise the services being provided by the civil society in the city. The app was developed completely through the philanthropic support of the Jalandhar Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and had no financial liability on the administration. Currently, there are 56 service providers registered on the application across 8 categories. Any NGO, essential supplier, or philanthropic organisation wanting to register on the application at https://app.jalandharsevak.com/signup and access their profiles by logging into https://app.jalandharsevak.com.
The application also saw the launch of ‘Bablu’ and ‘Babli’ – Jalandhar’s COVID 19 response mascots that are expected to successfully disseminate COVID related information to the younger age groups. It is a part of the targeted ICE strategy being undertaken by the district administration to create awareness among the younger age groups. “Since vaccination for children is yet to be available, it becomes of paramount importance to ensure that they follow appropriate COVID protocols. As a parent, I understand that isolating children in a household is next to impossible. Therefore, there is an added risk of the children infecting other high-risk individuals if they contract the disease from outside. Keeping this in mind, we are undertaking several targeted IEC initiatives along with dedicated testing and prevention strategies to ensure that the children are not affected by the pandemic in any way. The creation of the mascots by the administration is one such step in that direction”, said the Deputy Commissioner, Sh. Ghanshyam Thori.The Deputy Commissioner expects that the Jalandhar Sevak App would be another e-Governance initiative that would positively impact the lives of the citizens in the district. The Deputy Commissioner added that “Jalandhar district always tends to perform well in metrics of e-governance. We have continued to maintain the lowest pendency in service delivery through Sewa Kendras and we also have the highest resolution rate in the State for grievances lodged through the PGRS Portal of the government. We believe that by successfully encouraging the citizens at the grassroots to adopt and interact with e-governance forums a long-term transition to digital governance can be possible much sooner than what is being anticipated for a country like ours. The app is the first step of integrating the Civil Society in the network of e-governance in the district.” Dedicating the application to the Civil Society of the city as a completely de-centralised forum for information sharing, he further requested citizens to maintain COVID appropriate behaviour and vaccination as the effects of the pandemic are far from over.