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Product Name: Haqdarshak
Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions Private Ltd’s (HESPL) goal is to empower citizens, both rural and urban, by providing easy access to relevant welfare schemes information and provide the last-mile support for applications for these schemes. It has a technology platform that enables collection of family/citizen information to display the eligible government and private welfare schemes.
The HESPL solution has the following elements:
A comprehensive database of government and private schemes at the central and state levels. A schemes research team that tracks welfare scheme information on a regular basis, and maintains the scheme details, including the eligibility criteria into a rules engine of the platform.
A mobile/tablet/web-based application that can be used to collect relevant information from a citizen, check eligibility across various schemes using an eligibility rules engine, display the eligible schemes, the process of applying for a scheme, the supporting documents needed, and information on how to fill the relevant application form.
The platform is accessible through a trained, community-level facilitator (aka a Haqdarshak) who assists the citizen in checking their eligibility, and completing the application process under any specific scheme that the citizen may be eligible for and interested in, for a nominal fee.
An offline mode of execution with seamless online syncing of data - a must-have in rural areas.
A helpline for product support, and to measure citizen satisfaction of service delivery.
Stakeholder dashboards to monitor the performance of various engagements at the organization level, partner level and with drill down to the level of each individual Haqdarshak.
1. The high penetration of smart mobile phones in rural India provides an opportunity to drastically improve the access to high quality and high-fidelity information at very low costs. The computing power of these modern mobile phones also allows for complex apps to be deployed onto them. The platform has over 3500 schemes PAN India across 20 states. By the use of technology, it is possible to deploy rules engine on the phone and dynamically determine the subset of schemes that a citizen is eligible for. Thus a comprehensive citizen-centric approach for accessing schemes is now possible.
The mobile app works in an offline mode – hence all the functionality is available in the absence of internet and this is truly required in rural remote areas in India.
2. The solution consists of technology platform and last-mile support via a trained field person. This is a very crucial aspect as most of the applications will require form-filling and also physical visits to the concerned department. For most of the potential beneficiaries these are truly challenges – many of them are illiterate, some of them not so mobile and lack the confidence to submit their applications to officials by themselves. This last mile hand-holding is therefore a key differentiator.
3. The HES technology platform is arguably one of the most comprehensive platforms regarding govt. welfare schemes. Presently we have over 3500 schemes in the database with information pertaining to 20 states. The database contains details about various attributes of a scheme such as benefit value, application process, application forms, etc. The platform is multilingual and has the details in local language as well. This information is conveyed in simple local language.
4. The technology around the rules engine is unique to our platform. We have a scheme design portal that is used by our internal scheme research team to code the eligibility criteria into the platform as logical rules.
5. This objective coding of the scheme eligibility criteria serves as input for automatic generation of a questionnaire for the citizen. In other words, the questions to be asked to the citizen are entirely based on the eligibility criteria and this question set is automatically generated by the platform based upon the schemes entered. There is no additional software development or hand-coding of these questions. This is a unique feature of the platform. This feature allows for deployment of new schemes without having any software development cycle.
6. The Mobile and Web app help a citizen discover the schemes that he or she is “eligible” for from among the total list of schemes. This is a very useful feature using technology as without it, the process of identifying suitable schemes manually is very cumbersome as each state has more than 300-500 welfare schemes. The dynamic questionnaire works in the form of a decision-tree traversing the path based on the answers provided.
7. The app has been designed to function in an offline mode. The rules engine and schemes are deployed locally on the app – hence internet connectivity is not required for a user to discover eligible schemes via the app. This again is a unique feature and a very critical one for the success of the technology solution in rural India. The application does an auto-sync with the database whenever internet connectivity is available.
8. The HESPL solution consists of a technology partner and a trained field operative to provide last-mile assistance to a citizen. This field person works as a Village Level Entrepreneur who renders his/her services to the citizen in a transparent manner and collects a prescribed fee from the citizen. As per our experience and also from the initial pilot of collaboration with JPAL, it appears that this last mile service provider is a critical element of the solution and it improves access and uptake of schemes as the potential beneficiaries are often illiterate, not very mobile and intimidated by the process and the prospect of having to deal with government officials on their own. Our experience also indicates that the citizen is willing to pay a fee in order to avail the services of the local VLE. With the penetration of smartphones in India, we believe that there is an opportunity for people to provide such services in their communities and earn an income in doing so. By doing so, they increase their earning potential, Gain confidence and become valuable in the communities they serve, increase their mobile and digital skills to participate in other avenues of digital economy
Aniket Doegar, CEO and co-founder: Aniket has over 8 years of experience in the development sector. He was a Teach For India fellow, and has was worked with the Gyan Prakash Foundation and Indus Action. He is also an Acumen India Fellow 2018. Aniket is an alumnus of SRCC, Delhi.
Asha Krishnan, Chief Program and Research officer, co-founder: Asha has over 25 years of experience in the technology field. In the past, she has worked with UIDAI—which implemented the Aadhaar project—and Patni Computers.
PR Ganapathy, co-founder: He has an experience of 25 years and is currently the president of Villgro, one of India’s oldest and most respected social enterprise incubators. He is an alumnus of IIM, Ahmedabad.
Ashwin Gayatri, Chief Technology Officer: Ashwin has extensive experience in the technology and public policy sector. He has worked for the Government of Maharashtra as a Principal Consultant and Head, State e-Mission Team for slightly over a year. Prior to that he was working with Patni (now Capgemini) for over 23 years. He is an electrical engineering graduate from IIT, Bombay.
Niharika B, Senior Manager, Research: Niharika has worked as an engineer with Rio Tinto. She has completed her B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur and also studied policy innovation. She leads research implementation at Haqdarshak.
Madhura Karnik, Senior Manager, Partnerships & Communications: Madhura has worked as a business journalist for over 4 years in Indian and foreign media where she covered the Indian economy and corporates. Prior to journalism, she worked as a financial analyst with Crisil, working with S&P researchers in the structured finance team. She has completed her MA in Business Journalism from the City University of New York and MMS, Finance from Mumbai University.
Hanuman Garg, Senior Manager, Operations (North): Hanuman is a development professional with an MBA in Marketing and Finance with 6 years of experience in managing projects around social welfare areas like water, health, schemes, vocational training, with an area development approach. In the past Hanuman has worked with Project Asha and Piramal foundation, among others
Sharmil Avachat, Senior Manager, Human Resources: Sharmil has worked in the academics and development sector for over 12 years. She has headed programs, and project monitoring and fund utilisation teams in her previous jobs with the Gyan Prakash Foundation and FLAME School of Communications. Sharmil has completed her MA and MPhil in Economics from the Pune University and has been a university topper.