The Telegraph
Saturday , May 16 , 2015

App activism to bring about social change

- IT department holds workshop to create tech-savvy army, use smartphone applications for greater cause

Participants at the workshop in Ranchi on Friday and (below) additional chief secretary and director-general of ATI Sudhir Prasad addresses the gathering. (Hardeep Singh)

The state IT department on Friday organised a daylong workshop in the capital to provide smartphone geeks a platform to learn ways to develop useful applications in day-to-day life, stirring up an "app activism" to bring about social change.

Amitesh, the project officer at the IT department, said the idea behind holding this first-of-its-kind event - Android App Development - was to prepare an army of technology driven people, who can create applications for greater use.

"We have many tech-friendly people in Ranchi but they lack know-how of using it for change. Therefore, we thought of forming a community of social user groups for brainstorming ways of developing new apps that can simplify our lives," he said while addressing over hundred participants at the auditorium of Administrative Training Institute (ATI).

Elaborating on ways in which apps can make a difference, he said android platform offered many easy-to-make software, which could be customised as per one's need.

Given the technology boom, anyone and everyone can create Apps of their own choice and preferences. "It isn't tough today. However, major deterrent is that one doesn't know where and how to begin," he said.

"A website called has a host of options through which even a layman can make an app. For example, if you find an uncovered drain in your locality, you can draw the attention of the authorities concerned through an app. Click a picture, record its coordinates and post it on a platform that has civic body and commoners linked to it. Do you know that on Ranchi-Patratu four lane, there are at least three points where just by creating a check-in, you can let others know about the sunrise and sunset points in this scenic valley. The coordinates can be given to the tourism department later on for developing them as tourist points. There can be numerous reasons and ways for creating Apps," he added.

Another speaker said just by using telephony manager available on the android platform, one could easily track any phone's IMEI number in case of theft or loss. "With the location manager, you can record coordinates and create database of check-ins for any place," he informed.

Additional chief secretary Sudhir Prasad, director general of ATI, who was present as the chief guest, called for building apps that could improve service quality of private companies.

"Today majority of companies provide poor after sales services for their home appliances. For example, I have an air conditioner that has been lying defunct for over two months as it's remote isn't available in markets today. Am I to pay for it? It is a classic case for consumer forum but a common man doesn't have time to pursue all those legal things. Why not have an app where all such concerns can be registered, which after compilation can be submitted to the government and consumer courts collectively for greater action," he said.

Around 100, including students, researchers, and tech enthusiasts, took part in the daylong event. The entry was free for students while researchers and scholars had to pay Rs 500 for registration.


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