Meet the six students behind Narendra Modi’s PMO app

The team lead by Raghav Sarin, along with other five students, were felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Google executives on Saturday at the townhall meet

Written by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: August 10, 2016 11:20 am
The winners of the PMO App contest The winners of the PMO App contest

A team of six students – comprising students from Sri Venkateswara College, BITS Goa, BITS Pilani, Maharaja Agrasen University of Technology, Delhi College of Engineering and Stony Brook University New York – are the faces behind the first-ever crowd sourced app for the Prime Minister’s Office, an extension to MyGov.in initiative.

The team led by Raghav Sarin, a student of Economics Honours at Sri Venkateshwara college, won a contest organised by tech giant Google in association with the Indian government that saw more than 10,000 entries and 45,000 ideas.

Raghav Sarin, Gyan Lakhwani, Prajwal Seth, Preet S Khalsa, Naman Dwivedi and Pranav Sethi were felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Google executives on Saturday at the townhall meet.

Having a keen interest in design and entrepreneurship, 19-year-old Sarin says the entrepreneurial bug bit him in school and is what drove him to participate in the contest.

“I began designing in class 9 and by class 10, I started freelancing and working for several startups and companies while also working on a few of my own. Working with different people on several project helped me form an interest in design and entrepreneurship,” says Sarin, who was also invoved in designing the app’s user interface and experience.

For 19-year-old Naman Dwivedi, a second year enginerring student at Delhi Technological University, it was the love of new challenges and advanced technology that drove him forward. “It was a big challenge for us to build an app where performance, security and scalability are critical and which is going to be used by millions of people. This is the first crowd-sourced application developed for the government.

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We look forward to maintaining this app and add lots of new things over the upcoming time to increase the usability and functionality of the app even more,” says Dwivedi, the app’s primary android developer.

Apart from allowing users to take appointments with PMO officials, the app also allows users to directly submit suggestions for the PM’s Mann Ki Baat programme, have a peek at his pre-fixed calendar and an option to share posts on all social media and online platforms with one touch. A listing of selected questions people have posed to the PM on Twitter and his replies, and audio files of his messages are some of the other features.

This app also provides citizens access to critical information about flagship programmes, overview of PM’s major initiatives, and enables people to make a donation to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund .

A passion for technology and art is what drove Gyan Lakhwani from Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, Delhi to take up the challenge. “I have been in love with technology since the first time I saw a computer and art since I first grabbed a crayon. Designing human-computer interactions is the intersection of both of my passions. I feel the app is a great tool for the public to stay updated with the Prime Minister’s Office,” Lakhwani told The Indian Express.

Having won the contest, the students are now excited to visit Google headquarters in Mountain View and interact with Google’s engineering and android teams in the Silicon Valley. “The collaboration of a tech giant like Google and the Government of India to work on such a project is also quite unique and it is a partnership, which helped us a great deal during the development of the app. It also helped us understand how both governments and big companies operate better,” Sarin told The Indian Express.

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