The Department of Food & Supplies, Govt. of West Bengal launched a dedicated WhatsApp chatbot. The new service aims to provide the citizens of the state to apply for a ration card, lodge grievances and get access to other critical resources. The chatbot also helps farmers with verified information pertaining to paddy related procurement. The bot is free to use and is available in English and Bengali. To access the bot, WhatsApp users need to simply send ‘Hi’ to the number +91-9903055505.
The new service can benefit over 10 crore beneficiaries of ration cards in the state of West Bengal. With the chatbot being operational, there will be no need for people to visit the ration office in person to get their queries addressed or submit requests. The bot is built with resources such as ration card application forms, tracking application, linking to AADHAR, guidance on scheduling sale of paddy, etc.
Commenting about the launch, Parvez Siddiqui, IAS (Secretary, Department of Food and Supplies) – “The chatbot provides updated information to citizens to enable them to raise queries and complaints thus helping faster resolution and ensuring that food supplies reach the remotest part of the state in a seamless manner. They can get all citizen centric services, sitting in the comfort of their homes using WhatsApp, a service with which most people are comfortable in today’s age. This is the easiest and most efficient way for the government to ensure that it is serving its people and also helping farmers with their paddy procurement. I am grateful for the support from WhatsApp which has helped us in building a pioneering solution that is going to help the people of West Bengal.”
Shivnath Thukral, Director Public Policy – WhatsApp India commented, “At WhatsApp, we are always looking to support solutions that leverage our platform to deliver social good and governance solutions. We are honoured to support the Government of West Bengal’s mission to make food supplies more efficient and easy and ensure that it reaches the remotest parts of the State. We are hopeful that this customised solution through WhatsApp will be beneficial for people and help them access information that streamlines food distribution in the State.”
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