NeGD working on chatbot interface for UMANG services

Venkatesh Ganesh Mumbai November 20 | Updated on November 28, 2020

Abhishek Singh, President & CEO, NeGD; CEO, MyGov; and MD & CEO, Digital India Corporation

‘We will be able to reach out to many who don’t know to read or write’

National E-Governance Division (NeGD), under the Ministry of Electronics and IT, is building a voice-enabled chatbot for UMANG services, in a push to get illiterate people to adopt digital services.

UMANG, short for Unified Mobile Application for New Age Governance was launched in November 2017 as an app, through which many citizen-facing services of Centre, States, local bodies, were brought on a unified platform.

Chatbot interface

Services such as PF information, utility bill payments and others can be done through a single app without the need for an intermediary and doing away with the need for multiple apps.

Now, NeGD is working on a voice chatbot interface, like Alexa or Siri, which over time will cover all Indian languages. “Internet user base in India has crossed 70 crore and with a voice bot we will be able to reach out to many who don’t know to read or write,” said Abhishek Singh, President & CEO, NeGD; CEO, MyGov; and MD & CEO, Digital India Corporation. Currently, UMANG app has 2,030 central and State government services and 2.40 crore registered users and 3.75 crore downloads. Since the pandemic, UMANG app has added almost 1,400 government services on the app. In March 2020, the app had 643 services.

Earlier, such services were provided by related departments through portals and individual mobile apps, which were often buggy and unreliable. Also, it required every user to download several apps. “This raised issues around the authenticity of apps and created more confusion, all of which UMANG has addressed,” stated Singh. Also, many citizens are unaware of services which can be availed.

Currently, of the total 2,039 services, 373 services from Centre, 487 services from 27 States and 1,179 utility bill payment services in the country, with 150 crore transactions have been recorded till date.

Regional languages

Currently, UMANG is available in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Assamese, Odiya, Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati and Marathi. “We are working to make UMANG available in 10 other regional languages,” said Singh. It is available on Android, iOS, web browsers and KaiOS (used in Jio phones).

Around 6.5 crore Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) employees apply for Jeevan Pramaan certificate using the EPFO service on UMANG app. Similarly, 4.5 crore Employee State Industrial Corporation (ESIC) employees can check their various entitlement benefits and other departments such as education, agriculture, healthcare, culture, 125 Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) weather services are available on UMANG.

“We have 78 DBT schemes ‘live’ on UMANG and by the end of the year, 100 schemes will be onboarded,” said Saurabh Tiwari, Joint Secretary-Cabinet Secretariat, DBT.

For government departments, getting integrated with UMANG gives them the benefit of integration with Aadhaar, Digital Locker, payment gateway, SMS/email gateway and does away with the need for separate maintenance of systems. UMANG services have been extended through 3.75 lakh CSCs for services delivery in, “Assisted mode”.

Also read: Aarogya Setu app: CIC summons officers of NIC, IT Ministry for not giving details


Published on November 20, 2020

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