Bengal unveils WhatsApp chatbot to help ease ration card hurdles for applicants

Bengal unveils WhatsApp chatbot to help ease ration card hurdles for applicants
Photo Credit: Pixabay
17 Nov, 2021

The West Bengal government has launched a dedicated WhatsApp chatbot to help the citizens of the state easily apply for a ration card, lodge grievances and get access to other critical resources.  

WhatsApp has rolled out such experiment for the first time in India. It also claims that the chatbot, which is a free to use and available in both English and Bangla languages, will also provide assistance to farmers with verified information on paddy related procurements.   

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.”  

WhatsApp, in an official release, claimed that this is the first-of-its-kind solution in India and has been designed for the benefit of over 10 crore beneficiaries of ration cards in West Bengal. The chatbot is built with full-service capabilities and eliminates the need for people to visit the ration office in person to get their queries addressed or submit requests. The bot is easy to use and is built with resources such as ration card application forms, tracking application, linking to Aadhaar, guidance on scheduling sale of paddy, etc. 

Shivnath Thukral, Director Public Policy - WhatsApp India, said, “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.”