APC members in 2016: Putting information in the hands of the rural population

This member story was featured in the 2016 APC Annual Report, as part of our work on access.

As much as 67% of India’s population lives in rural India. This population is largely dependent on government services for some of their most basic needs and livelihoods. Realising the need to serve India’s rural, remote and marginalised population with relevant information about governments services, schemes and entitlements in a timely manner, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) began beta testing a mobile application called MeraApp (meaning “my app”) under its project Soochna Seva (Information Service) in 2016.

Developed using cutting-edge technology, the Android-based app provides rural India’s vulnerable population with a catalogue of social service schemes, with comprehensive information on entitlements, in an effort to empower them with access to rights and benefits.

Users, assisted by “Soochnapreneurs” (Info-preneurs), can either view the information categorised by provinces and social service areas or enter their socioeconomic details to allow the app to display a list of schemes that suit the information fed into it. A bilingual app that runs on online and offline modes, MeraApp has been envisioned as a platform to empower rural and remote populations with access to information and bring them closer to their rightful entitlements, thus bridging the digital divide and encouraging social and financial inclusion.

Furthermore, the app also allows users to submit grievances to various government portals and track the status of the complaint. In its second phase in 2017, the app will be made available in a third, regional language and a larger group of rural entrepreneurs will be trained in using the app.

Image: Digital Empowerment Foundation.

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