Relevant information delivered via mobile broadband can empower underserved communities and help the government meet its objectives. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India plan aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by empowering citizens through ubiquitous access to the Internet and use of mobile phones and services.
Qualcomm, through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative, shares Prime Minister Modi’s vision of ‘Digital India’. A strategic corporate social responsibility initiative, Wireless Reach has been working since 2006 to implement programmes that leverage mobile broadband to achieve economic and social impact.
The Fisher Friend Mobile Application was one of the first Wireless Reach programmes to be launched in India, in collaboration with the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, to make fishing safer for fishermen who had suffered from the 2004 tsunami. Since then, several other programmes that are implemented reflect the government’s key priorities. For example, the Play ‘n’ Learn programme developed 24 innovative, Android-based games using Sesame Workshop India’s educational outreach and television programme content. This programme has been successful in improving the literacy and numeracy skills of children ages 5-8. The evidence of impact of such programmes that incorporate mobile technology in education may help inform the government’s New Education Policy.
The StoveTrace programme, implemented by Nexleaf Analytics, supports the government’s programmes to drive adoption of clean cook stoves through innovative financing. Featuring a smartphone connected to a thermal sensor and pre-loaded with a mobile app that provides an affordable, reliable, monitoring device to measure a family’s clean cook stove usage. This solution enables families to obtain credits from a voluntary carbon exchange when they use clean cook stoves, providing them with a financial incentive for using clean cook stoves while also reducing carbon emissions and improving the health of their families. During 2015, sensors tracked participants using their clean cook stoves for a total of 103,000 hours, enabling savings of 249 tons of carbon dioxide and earnings of US $1,497.
Through the Government of India’s universal financial inclusion scheme, all households in India will gain easy and universal access to financial services. The Connecting India to Disconnect Poverty programme uses MicroLekha, a mobile application created through funding provided by Wireless Reach, to help microfinance institutions (MFIs) operate more efficiently, cost-effectively and with greater transparency while also increasing customer satisfaction and confidence in the lending process.
MicroLekha is being implemented with Planned Social Concern, an MFI based in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Wireless Reach also collaborated with IntraHealth International and others on the mSakhi mobile application to empower frontline health workers to improve maternal, infant and child care. Developed for Android devices, mSakhi combines self-learning, counseling and client-management tools in one easy-to-use and engaging multimedia solution. This programme aligns with the Digital India plan and has had such positive results that the State Government of Uttar Pradesh is incorporating the learnings into a larger government initiative that will include 14,000 State health workers and has the potential to serve more than 500,000 beneficiaries.
As these Wireless Reach programmes demonstrate, Qualcomm remains committed to collaborating with the Government of India to find innovative solutions to bridge the digital divide, accelerate economic growth and enable the government to meet its policy and programme objectives.