Apps for India, from Patna

Election Commission uses city firm's software

By Sanjeev Kumar Verma
  • Published 4.04.16
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Software Education and Research Private Limited managing director Sanjiv Shanker works in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Jai Prakash

Patna, April 3: What connects the Assembly elections in Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Pondicherry? A Bihar-based software firm.

Software Education and Research Private Limited (SERPL) has provided four mobile apps - Samadhan, Suvidha, Sugam and BMF (basic minimum facility) - that help make conducting the elections easier.

Through Samadhan, voters can register complaints related to voters' list, ID card, violation of model code of conduct and similar things. When one lodges a complaint, it is automatically directed to the officer concerned and a time frame given within which the complaint is to be redressed. The complainant receives an SMS and another after the grievance is addressed. Suvidha enables political parties to take the Election Commission (EC)'s permission for organising rallies, use of vehicles for canvassing, etc. Sugam and BMF are for poll officials. Sugam, which is being used in Bengal and Kerala, helps the EC keep tabs on vehicles procured for election-related work and the payment made to the vehicle owners - weeding out enormous clerical work.

While Samadhan, Suvidha and Sugam have already been used in the Bihar Assembly elections in 2015, the BMF is a new app. It is meant to help ensure adherence to the EC's guidelines on polling booths such as regarding availability of essentials like toilets, drinking water and ramp for the differently abled.

"We are using these applications on the recommendation of the Election Commission of India and I must admit that these have turned out to be very useful," Assam chief electoral officer Vijayendra told The Telegraph over phone on Sunday.

A senior official in the office of the chief electoral officer of Bengal said the apps had helped in making preparations for the Assembly elections. Kerala IT mission managing director MY Safirulla K said improvisations were being made in the apps keeping local needs in mind.

SERPL has deputed teams in all the four states to help election officials address issues that might crop up during the use of the apps.

The firm started in 2000 as a Microsoft-certified training centre for programmers and now has 35 software professionals. In 2006, it bagged a Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam contract for developing software for online monitoring of field works. "There has been no looking back since then," said SERPL managing director Sanjiv Shanker (37).

Solutions the firm has provided include Adhikar, software used for implementation of Right to Public Service Act that entails time-bound delivery of certain government services to people, and Sanjivani which is a software used in government hospitals for keeping patient data. SERPL's clients include the rural works department that uses its software for online monitoring of works and the education department that monitors the midday meal scheme.

"Apart from doing election related work in Bihar and other states, we are also carrying out more than 12 government projects in Bihar," said Shanker. "Our aim is to make Bihar a hub of software development; the state with cheap labour can prove to be very competitive on this front."