“Sending SMS alerts is not m-governance”

In conversation, Pravin Rajpal, CEO, Handygo Technologies Pvt Ltd


Samir Sachdeva | August 24, 2012

Established in 2000, Handygo is a leading wireless solution provider of mobile entertainment, mobile governance and value added services (VAS). It offers services in rural education and healthcare. Its solutions are spread across platforms like IVR, SMS and WAP. Pravin Rajpal, CEO, Handygo Technologies Pvt Ltd, spoke to Samir Sachdeva about various initiatives of the company. Edited excerpts:

How will you define Handygo?
I will define Handygo as an organisation working for the betterment of consumer by providing information.

What kind of services do you offer?
Currently, we are offering services in areas of health, education and entertainment.

Tell us about the social networking platform which you have established.
We have a product called Ping Me, which is a social platform on ‘voice’. The idea was to connect uneducated masses to a bigger group.

How ‘Behtar Zindagi’ came into being?
Four years ago, we wanted to do something for the rural population as there were no services for them. We did a survey to understand their needs and paying capacity and decided to offer informational services, like mandi rates, future crops, pesticides, etc at a call rate of 50 paise per minute. We also provided information on various government schemes like scholarships for girl child or free laptops to students. That’s how Behtar Zindagi portal was built.

Is it pan-India?
From the very first day, it was pan-India and in 18 regional languages.

How is this initiative different from the already existing ones?
The interactive voice response (IVR) solution is bridging the illiteracy gap. It is removing language barriers too. If you don’t know Hindi or English and if you just know Marathi, even then you can call on this number and can get the information required.

Do you have a call centre to handle it at back end?
Soon we will have a call centre in place which will initially provide consultation services for the farmers. Later it will take shape of a B2B exchange where we will connect buyers and sellers.

What are your initiatives in areas like health and education?
In area of health we have a product called Health and U and in area of education we have Mobi Shiksha. In health we are focusing on women and child health. We have tied up with 40 doctors and 20 hospitals across the country for facilitating these services. A person can connect to the doctor, who will advise him based on the symptoms.

In Mobi Shiksha our first focus is to teach rural people commonly used English words which will help them in their profession. We also help students with career counselling by connecting them with experts.

How has been the response of the subscribers?
In case of our initiatives of Mobi Shiksha, Health & U and Ehsaas, on an average we receive 1,200-1,500 calls a month which is increasing monthly at the rate of 15-20 percent.

Who all are your key partners?
We have tied up with Indian Meteorological Department for weather update. Our other partners include Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, NETFISH, CABI, CARE, EKO India financial services private limited and Dhanuka Agritech Limited. Overall we have more than 100 tie-ups including those with hospitals.

Are you into content digitisation too?
We are soon launching an e-book platform. We are trying to bring not only national content but regional content as well there. We are planning to create digital libraries for schools. We also want to bring NCERT and ICSE books on our platform.

The government of India has been talking about m-governance? What’s your take on that?
The government is only sending SMS alerts to the citizen which is using it as a broadcasting tool. It is not using mobiles in delivery of services. We are in touch with the health, education and IT departments of various states, so that our services can reach to maximum people.



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