25 May 2021
Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions Private Limited (HESPL) has launched a WhatsApp-based chatbot in Hindi and English in Chandigarh today. The goal of the chatbot is to ease information access about COVID-19 vaccines, relief schemes for individuals and MSMEses, health insurance, and the settlement of claims.
Smartphone usage is now widespread among small business owners, migrants, daily wage earners, the urban poor and rural Indians. At present, the chatbot provides information on vaccinations, insurance schemes and a few specific COVID-19 relief schemes in Hindi as well as English. The chatbot will support new languages over the next 6 months.
The chatbot can be accessed by sending a message to +91 93073 05995 or through this link. Further, users are also redirected to Haqdarshak’s multilingual support helpline for vaccine registrations and scheme applications. Currently, the helpline provides support in Marathi, Hindi and Kannada.
The primary focus of the chatbot today is to provide information on health insurance and settlement claims to those that have been excluded. Despite having insurance policies, most rural Indians still face difficulties in this regard. Access to last-mile social welfare has been a critical challenge in India. Only 40% of Indians are able to apply for the government services and goods they need, a 2017 World Bank study concluded, adding that citizens could simply not afford the time or the money to access such services. Moreover, access to information regarding the pandemic and its related schemes, has seen multiple gaps as even those with access to sophisticated social media channels are still excluded. With WhatsApp’s reach of 390 million in India alone, the Haqdarshak chatbot will serve as a first step to solve this information asymmetry.
Haqdarshak uses tech to ensure that citizens at the last-mile get access to government as well as private welfare and schemes, and services. This is done through a mobile and web SAAS platform for corporate partners, along with a training platform used by community women entrepreneurs.
“Haqdarshak will relentlessly continue to build tech-based products and services to ensure last-mile accessibility to welfare. We are building the requisite tech infrastructure and channels to replicate multiple-use cases in this domain. In the next 12 months, we want to reach out to 1 crore families through the chatbot and helpline service. We will be partnering with private organisations and government departments entrusted with the responsibility of the most vulnerable communities. Simply put, our product and tech team is focused on building tech4good products,” Aniket Doegar, co-founder and CEO of Haqdarshak said.
Over the last five years, and with a field presence in 22 Indian states, Haqdarshak has reached out to more than 1 million families and supported over 700,000 beneficiaries with welfare schemes, bringing in 500cr INR ($67 million)) worth of benefits. Plus, the Haqdarshak tech platform has digitised 7000 welfare schemes.
Lastly, given the government’s recent efforts in providing small businesses with loans and schemes, HESPL has launched an MSME-focused platform that offers application support for welfare schemes. Recently, the company launched the Haqdarshak app, available for download on the Google Play Store.