Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Have a query, but don’t have internet? Call up these guys

helpline-main A group of eight engineers from various cities of UP has come up with a novel concept of a 24x7 toll free number to help people of the remote and rural areas having no access to internet and other sources of information. (Source: Swati Sharma)
Written by Swati Sharma , Edited by Parmita Uniyal | New Delhi | Posted: July 15, 2014 1:21 pm | Updated: July 15, 2014 2:39 pm

There are people who work for money, to run their families. Then there are those who work for themselves (heart), to follow their passions. For that they tread an unconventional path which leads them to satisfaction and happiness. When a group of IITians runs an online portal for delivering food, another runs a toll free number to help rural masses answer their queries, or a doctorate sets up a dhaba in JNU, they are setting example for others by going offbeat.

Here’s the second from our four-part series about a student group that runs a 24×7 helpline for rural people who don’t have access to internet.

‘We are doing this for social welfare’

another The maximum time they take to answer back a query is 15-20 seconds. (Source: Swati Sharma)

A group of eight engineers from various cities of UP has come up with a novel concept of a 24×7 toll free number to help people of the remote and rural areas having no access to internet and other sources of information. Through their service, one can inquire about railways, movies, results, banks, hospital and more.

The helpline is unique in the sense that the moment the desk support staff receive a call from a person, they search for the answer in their local server. If the answer is not available in their local server they take help of internet.

The maximum time they take to answer back a query is 15-20 seconds. The best thing is that in case the staff miss a call, they just arrange a call back.

The facility was launched on 22nd April 2013 and on the very first day, the engineers received 800 calls. Slowly and gradually the number kept increasing. As of now, they receive 4,000-5,000 calls a day.

The helpline was initially started by six people but now the number has increased to nine. It is a brain child of Sivendra Pandey, Vishal Singh Bisht, Kartike Singh, Rohit Pandey, Shivendu Raj, Aman Rajput, Urvashi Dwivedi, Rashmi Mishra and Rachit Srivastava.

Talking to Indian Express, Shivendu Pandey said, “We all get lots of queries. Only few people are lucky to have internet with them. This helpline helps those who do not have access to the net.”

When asked about the source of income to keep the toll free number working, Rachit Srivastava said, “We are doing this for social welfare and we have other mediums to earn money. We just want to help people by this medium.”

He also added that they are trying to bring this system all over India, “but it will take some time”. Currently it is running in seven cities which include Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut, Dehradun and Mughalsarai.

The toll free service is called Ask To Ray and the helpline number is 18002003886.

The next in the series is the story of a doctorate from JNU who decided to set up a dhaba at his alma mater itself

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