Government app helps pay bills, search doctors, but caters only to Bengaluru

The app released by Government of Karnataka has a lot of scope for improvement.

The ambitious mobile governance project of the State government, Karnataka One, which was also touted as one of the world’s largest multi-mode mobile governance platforms, has not met the expectations of the people. Even after almost two months of launching, the mobile app that intends to offer easy access to various government and private services, is yet to evolve as a comprehensive mobile governance system.

During its launch on December 8, the government had boasted that the app will provide 637 government (both Central and State) services to the citizens as well as link consumers to 3,644 private services.

Once you log into Karnataka Mobile One app, you will realise that the app is still half-baked. It claims to be providing direct services only under 23 categories – namely, utility, banking, police, healthcare, transport, telecom, municipal, travel, passport, employment, taxation, registration, safety, grievance, legal, agriculture, B2C, Sakala, education, postal, FRRO, HRMS and E-procurement.

App not for the entire state!

Here are some observations:

  • Be it utility, police, health care or transport, currently most services are only for Bengalureans. The Department of Stamps and Registration, in its section says “Residents of Bengaluru can access various registration documents and pay the fees for their respective documents.”
  • Though some effort has been made to include other cities of the State, like for example, by adding Mysuru ITS service in transport category and HESCOM (Hubli) in utility section, other cities and towns are excluded from majority of the services.
  • The banking section involves only five banks, namely Canara, SBI, ICICI, Panjab National Bank and Axis Bank. If not private sector banks, at least, the government should put efforts to bring all nationalised banks under the mobile governance. In addition, the SBI’s list of districts for you to choose a bank branch to open the accounts is limited to some 10 districts. Surprisingly, Bengaluru Urban is not found in the list!
  • In RTO section, there is a provision for issuing DL extract. But as you enter your DL number and try to extract, it says “details are not available. Please contact the concerned RTO.”
  • If at all you wish to plan your trip relying on BMTC’s Trip Planner service, it would not be of any help. As you enter ‘to’ and ‘from’ information, the app flashes the words “no data available.”
  • Same is the case while searching BMTC bus route details based on route number. The page does not show any information.
  • Then there is telecom service to help customers to pay prepaid and postpaid recharge / bill to telecom companies including BSNL, Airtel, Vodafone, Tata and Idea. But, there is no mention of the tariff rate that could be of help to the telecom customers.
  • The employment category too does not include all job categories and is limited to a very few job profiles.
  • Bengaluru traffic police section has an option to enable people to watch live traffic camera. The camera did not function when I clicked on any of the three names – Basavanagudi, Madiwala and Byatarayanapura.
  • In education section, there is an option to view SSLC exam results, but the same has not been made available for PUC students.
  • The State Crime Record Bureau section too does not operate. The screen displays “Sorry for the inconvenience, we are working hard to bring this service to you.” It also lacks provision to check the status of a police case / complaint filed by self.
  • In Bescom section, it is not clear if the bill payment is restricted to citizens residing Bengaluru city or covers Bengaluru district. We were unable to register when we tried to register in Bengaluru district.
  • Under the health category, it appears that private practitioners and hospitals have been promoted, whereas governments hospitals have not been promoted to a large extent.
  • BMRCL under Transport category lacks metro train timings. This will become important in future, once the Metro starts its new services.
  • Several other departments such as forest, environment, commerce and industry, food and civic supply, higher education and others are not included in the app.

Complain to police, pay your bills from mobile

That apart, the app also has a positive side to it, specially for the residents of Bengaluru. These are few useful features of the app, in its current format:

  • If your electricity connection is provided by BESCOM or HESCOM, then you have the privilege to view or pay the electricity bill, by registering your account number. You can also pay water bill to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and property tax to the BBMP using the app.
  • You can open bank accounts with Canara, ICICI, PNB, SBI and Axis banks under the Banking category.
  • With an option to file police complaint with Bengaluru City Police, for small things one need not go to the police station, but can file complaint using the app. All that you have to do is to type your name, e-mail id, describe the complaint and submit it.
  • Under Health services, the user can get a host of services like, requesting for nurse assistance, physiotherapy, hospitalisation, counselling etc. The best part is, the user can find a registered medical practitioner located nearest to an area and book an appointment using the app.
  • Safety service in the app is quite helpful. It lets the user to save three emergency numbers whom the app alerts in case of emergency. All that you have to do when you are in distress, is to press the alarm button, with GPS on and it will send SMS to three contacts with your current location on GPS. Alarm can also be triggered by shaking the phone. It indeed works!
  • Agriculture services is useful for farmers who can read / understand English. They can subscribe for free SMS services on market prices of commodities in different markets, get alerts on weather, rainfall, natural disaster alerts, crop solutions etc.
  • Vakil Search in Legal category will help you to find lawyers who can help you with company registration, tax registration, company secretarial services, legal advice and guidance and other services.
  • And yes, you can also check the status of Sakala services, just by entering your Guarantee of Services to Citizens (GSC) number.

A few suggestions to improve the app

  • Perhaps, making Kannada version of agriculture-related information available to the farmers will be more useful.
  • At present, citizens can submit grievances related to police, RTO and BBMP. This should be extended to all the departments.
  • An option should be made available to file application under Sakala through this app.
  • It would be of great help to the passengers, if information on platform numbers in Kempegowda bus stand for buses heading to various destinations is provided.

In a nutshell, the app is a proof of the power of Information Technology for good governance. Yet, the app has lots of potential for improvement – we will look out for the next version!

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Akshatha M
About Akshatha M 218 Articles
Akshatha M is a Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters. She tweets at @akshata1.

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