How AI Can Be A Boon For Changing Lives: A Remote Nagaland District Is An Example
- Ayodhya Prasad Singh
- Published on 10 Jun 2023, 9:09 am IST
- 5 minutes read
- Administration of Wokha district launched an AI chatbot which provides all government-related information and delivery of services at a single place
- Requests, grievances and feedbacks from users are already being received and registered
- It works on APIs platforms that allow different software applications to communicate with each other
It is the era of artificial intelligence (AI), and our country is using it as a tool for social empowerment and inclusion, and focussing on developing AI tools for the betterment of its citizens. In a unique initiative in the Wokha district of Nagaland, the administration recently launched an AI-powered Chatbot for various service delivery, grievance address, information, and interactive IEC campaigns, particularly useful for difficult terrains of the state.
Right now, more than one thousand people are using it, which is good number for a small district having population of 1.6 lakhs. And, that too, in such a short time.
They have named it ‘Wokha Saathi’, meaning Wokha’s friend. It has been conceptualized and designed by the District Administration led by 2015-batch IAS officer and DC of Wokha, Mr Ajit Kumar Ranjan, and 2018-batch IAS officer and ADC of Bhandari, Mr. Rohit Singh. The good thing is that all activities on this chatbot will be displayed on the dashboard of DC, so that he can monitor it.
A CONVERSATIONAL AI
Speaking with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Ranjan said, “It’s a kind of chatbot which works with WhatsApp and website right now, but it can work with other social media platforms, too. It can even engage with citizens on SMS.”
It is a Conversational AI. The chatbot will utilize advanced artificial intelligence techniques to engage in natural language conversations with citizens, understanding their queries and providing appropriate responses.
The AI tool was launched by A Narayanaswamy, Union MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment on 19 May this year. It gives advantage to both the government as well as the people. Wokha Saathi empowers citizens, improve accessibility to government services and foster transparency and efficiency in governance.
The basic platform for this AI, which is API based, is outsourced and provided by the private sector, while it is designed by DC Ranjan and ADC Singh.
HOW THE IDEA CAME ABOUT
How the idea of AI chatbot came to mind? Mr Ranjan said that earlier he had worked in the health department and, hence, is aware of difficulties faced by citizens as well as the workers. He realised that there should be an easy and more accessible way, where all information stored will works like a hub and be available on a finger tip. So, the idea was conceived with this thought in mind.
He said, “Accessibility of services and saturation of schemes were the two things in our minds. It provides citizen engagement at its best. It ensures efficient and timely response to citizen queries, requests and grievances. It has all the helplines of government. If anyone wants to contact on any helpline, AI will help him to find the designated person in seconds.”
HOW TO USE WOKHA SAATHI
To use this service, all the citizens of Wokha have to do is save the number 70055 77231 on their phone. Then, open WhatsApp and send a message, writing just ‘hi’. Immediately their interactive AI chatbot will get activated and they can take help anytime from it.
Mr Ranjan said, “As I monitor every activity personally as these are displayed on my dashboard, so I make sure that every request or query gets addressed on time.”
NEED OF THE HOUR
Nagaland is a state with tough terrain, where people have to travel far to reach offices for even simple work. Even to get an Aadhar or Ayushman card, they have to travel difficult distances, and the cost burden and unpleasant experience cause hesitancy. The government departments, too, face problems while trying to reach out to the people for schemes and campaigns. In such a situation, this AI chatbot is proving to be very helpful.
WHY AI IS A BOON
Mr Ranjan said that the state helplines for ambulance services, reporting disasters, etc., were not effective in some places, but with the help of the Chatbot, citizens can now directly connect with the facility level managers and seamlessly avail all the services, instead of having to contact the higher authorities.
Citing another example, he said that the health workers and citizens of Wokha district can connect directly and plan out the vaccination/immunization schedule now. They can also get connected to the Chief Minister Health Insurance Scheme (CMHIS) operator for registration and e-KYC.
“High volume services like Aadhaar, voter services, CM Micro Finance initiative, and other credit schemes and skill development services under the district Entrepreneurship Task Force are also made available on the platform, Mr. Ranjan added.
Hence, AI is proving to be a boon for the people of this small Nagaland district. It’s a great example of putting AI to good and useful use to benefit the public.
END OF THE ARTICLE