HELP AT HAND: Dahiya at the Faridabad indoor stadium, which is now a store for relief supplies. Photo by Vikram Sharma
A mobile app that has now been launched statewide has made Pradeep Dahiya a star among the bureaucracy in Haryana. He developed the ‘HelpMe’ app to streamline relief disbursal in his district, Faridabad. After the March 25 lockdown, when the exodus of migrant labour began, Haryana launched a call centre to attend to the distress calls. “The information-gathering mechanism was manual. Many things were falling through. The initial idea for the app was limited to the call centre’s information management,” explains Dahiya.
A 2013 batch IAS officer, Dahiya is currently administrator, HSVP (Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran) and additional director, Urban Estates, at Faridabad. When he was made nodal officer for disbursal of relief material, Dahiya, a former IT engineer with Infosys, thought up the idea of an app. “I took the help of my colleagues, who are also IT engineers, for it. Things happened really fast.”
The HelpMe app will eventually evolve into the state’s digital platform for relief distribution in any distress/ disaster situation. On April 25, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar formally launched the app for all the districts.
It all started in the first week of April at a video conference of district commissioners (DCs) with Khattar. Faridabad district collector Yash Pal had made a presentation of the app. The CM immediately asked principal secretary, IT, Ankur Gupta, to scale it up. Initially, the app had four features, SOS calls for cooked food, dry rations, doctor’s help and LPG cylinders. Apart from taking instructions, the app created job cards for the concerned officer. Once delivery is done, the latter uploads a picture. The picture is tagged with GIS location, to ensure no pilferage. “At the back end, the database is maintained for better understanding,” says Dahiya. Citizens, too, get an intimation when the job card is closed.
In the scaled-up version, the state has added agri procurement portal e-kharid and registration of migrants on the app. With the lockdown on, movement passes, bank appointments and market gate passes for farmers have also been added.