Covid19 Tech Impact
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The government of Karnataka, on April 21, launched a special helpline called Homeline to enable doorstep delivery of groceries, vegetables and medicines in Bengaluru Urban district.
The app would allow local kirana stores to list themselves and take orders from customers nearby. Meanwhile, a customer can place their order by calling on 08061914960 or send a list on WhatsApp. The government has assured that the delivery would be made in a day.
So far, the Homeline has geotagged over 16K grocery, medical, vegetable and fruit vendors, said Tejaswi Surya, Bengaluru South MP. Once the order is placed, it is assigned to the store nearest to the delivery location. The platform currently has over 3K delivery partners and will only charge a delivery fee of INR 10.
“We have thus ensured that even your neighbourhood store is able to conduct sufficient trade during the lockdown,” Surya added.
I urge citizens to stay safe at home, use helpline for essentials pic.twitter.com/dQb4odPMU8
— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) April 21, 2020
The app was piloted in the Bengaluru South parliamentary constituency, before being made available public for the entire urban district. Under the pilot, the city civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike had partnered with logistics partners like Dunzo, Rapido, HouseJoy, Shadowfax and Swiggy to carry out the deliveries.
Cloud communication platform Kaleyra has provided the WhatsApp Chatbot for the helpline, which is manned by call centre employees of 7.ai, a customer engagement platform. Meanwhile, Cartoon Mango-ITW Consulting has developed the platform entirely with support from Bengaluru South member of parliament, Elephant Ear Consulting and iSpirt.
B.H.Anil Kumar, the BBMP commissioner, highlighted that the government aims to discourage the local residents from stepping outside during the lockdown through this app.
Meanwhile, even the Punjab government had tried its hands in the door-step delivery of essential items — food, grocery, and medicine — but the project had several hurdles to face. The government was reportedly receiving complaints about the unavailability of the number. Besides this, even the vendors were having trouble in dealing with the influx of orders and deliver to the correct addresses.
In the end, the Punjab government launched a mobile-based COVA app to optimise the process. The app allows vendors to list themselves on the platform and also provides passes to continue with their services.
Karnataka Goes Hi-Tech To Fight Covid-19
The Karnataka government has been incorporating other tech solutions to keep monitor the situation as well. For instance, the state has rolled out an extensive digital campaign to spread awareness about Covid-19.
The state government has started creating TikTok videos in collaboration with local celebrities, TV personalities. Meanwhile, it also has been leveraging on the popularity of other social media platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook and Twitter to spread out more accurate and authentic information in local languages.
The state has also rolled out a Karnataka COVID-19 Quarantine tracker app to keep a tab on Covid-19 patients and the people, who have been advised to stay under quarantine. The app also alerts the people if they come in contact with someone tested positive of Covid-19. However, the app has raised some privacy concerns after it made the personal details of the people tested positive public.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka government has also rolled out a data dashboard Bengaluru Smart City Covid-19 War Room, which is a single source for all pandemic-related action, measures and data collection. The project too allows the government to track people under quarantine and their contacts, along with keeping an eye on medical personnel on the ground and the hospitals. The data is compiled in a city-wise and taluk-wise database.