Using the mobile to track midday meal scheme

Lucknow, Aug 9 (IANS) Two graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur have developed technology to keep tabs on the gigantic Rs.2,000 crore midday meal scheme across Uttar Pradesh’s 150,000 schools — through mobile phones!

When midday meal director Amod Kumar was looking for a solution to his biggest problem of getting quick daily feedback from the schools on preparation of midday meals, Pallav Pandey and Ambrish Gupta provided the answer.

Many ideas were mooted for gathering simultaneous information on the scheme from different schools, but nothing worked. ‘The task would have entailed setting up a giant call centre, which would probably cost almost as much as the midday meal scheme,’ Pandey told IANS.

‘Even with the impossible (move) of equipping every school with a computer and internet connection, the exercise of computing the data from such a large number of schools would take more than a day with a dedicated team of workers,’ he pointed out.

But now, the midday meal directorate has a ready data of meal prepared in each of its schools spread across the length and breadth of the state by 12 noon, thanks to the software developed by Pandey and Gupta launched last week.

All that the teacher looking after the meal business is required to do is transmit the information through an ordinary mobile phone via SMS.

‘The system installed at the directorate in Lucknow has a capacity to send and receive the data from 10,000 schools at one go; and that is what has made it possible to have the data from the entire state ready within two hours,’ Pandey said.

‘Even from the Lucknow end, it takes only one call to transmit the message to 10,000 recipients,’ he said.

Both Pandey and Gupta, who passed out of IIT-Kanpur in 2000, did a good stint in Silicon Valley before returning to India in 2008 to set up Knowlarity, their own company based in Gurgaon, with the aim of ‘using technology to help improve life of the masses in India’.

Keeping a constant watch on the telecom revolution, they thought of developing a business software that would work through just a mobile phone instead of computer with internet. And they say that their success story with the midday meal in Uttar Pradesh has made their dream come true.

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