BMC unveils WhatsApp helpline to digitize citizen engagement

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has launched a dedicated WhatsApp chatbot called MyBMC Assist to make it easier for citizens, tourists and businesses in Mumbai to reach out to the administration, seek support, access a wide range of resources and get their queries addressed.

With this chatbot, BMC will be the first city administration in India to build a comprehensive helpline on WhatsApp to streamline and make citizen engagement more inclusive and accessible.

The bot is free to use and will be available in English and Marathi. To access the bot, WhatsApp users need to simply send ‘Hi’ to the number https://wa.me/918999228999.

The MyBMC Assist chatbot is built on the WhatsApp Business platform and serves multiple use-cases that cater to citizens, tourists and businesses. The WhatsApp Business platform will ensure quick and easy answers to multiple questions in real time, help send alerts and reminders and enable BMC to be responsive 24*7 to its citizens. The chatbot is built with the latest intuitive features of the WhatsApp Business platform that presents a menu of options so people do not need to type out a response.

Citizens can find information about their wards, nearby amenities, schools, civic services, BEST services, tourist destinations, etc. It also allows direct registration of complaints, application for festival permissions, license renewal, payments and many more.

The chatbot was launched at a virtual event today in the presence of Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra – Uddhav Thackeray, Guardian Minister of Mumbai Suburban District and the Minister of Environmental Tourism of Maharashtra – Aditya Thackeray, Hon’ble BMC Commissioner – Dr. Iqbal Singh Chahal and Guardian Minister Mumbai City – Aslam Shaikh and Mayor of Mumbai – Smt. Kishore Pednekar.

Lauding the BMC Initiative, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Uddhav Thackeray, said “The country has been witnessing a large-scale adoption of technology and this is an opportunity for us to leverage its benefits for the citizens of this country. Today, WhatsApp is one of the most widely used technology applications and I stand proud that our BMC is tapping its potential to bring about transformation in the lives of the masses. MyBMC Assist will not only help us to best serve this city’s residents but also aid us in establishing a transparent and accountable model of governance. The successful launch of this initiative is credited to all who have worked in synergy towards making their vision a reality, with the best interest of the citizens at the heart. We will continue to work towards setting a benchmark for all city administrative bodies, globally.”

Speaking at the virtual launch of MyBMC Assist, Guardian Minister of Mumbai Suburban District and the Minister of Environmental Tourism of Maharashtra, said “BMC has always strived to set a precedent of accountable and transparent governance and establish ease of living for the citizens of Mumbai. BMC has been actively leveraging technology for citizen engagement and the launch of MyBMC Assist is a step forward in this direction. The BMC Assist chatbot on WhatsApp will be a convergence of about 80 essential services provided by the BMC – one of the first initiatives by any government body in the world.

This new channel of communication aims to empower citizens by setting up a suggestion and grievance redressal mechanism that is convenient and universally accessible, all from the safety of their homes. We hope to continue collaborating with WhatsApp to replicate this formal model that we’ve launched for the Mumbai region for corporations throughout the state of Maharashtra and firmly believe that this will be a game changer for citizen services, globally.”

On the occasion of the launch, Shivnath Thukral, Public Policy Director, WhatsApp India, said “Intuitive technologies like WhatsApp have made critical contributions in helping Governments to deliver citizen centric services in a simple, safe and secure manner. BMC’s custom tech-solution in the form of MyBMC Assist Helpline is equipped with 80+ citizen services and is India’s first comprehensive city administration chatbot on WhatsApp. The chatbot is a testament to the effective and scalable, transformational power of technology put to use by the Mumbai city administration. We remain committed to supporting BMC’s effort to build a world class platform that ensures easy access to citizen redressal and services for all.”

Harsha Solanki – Managing Director – India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, said, Infobip – “Infobip has a relevant history of facilitating government entities in different states. This time, in partnership with WhatsApp, we have enabled Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), to launch an official WhatsApp business account. It will be a bilingual chatbot available in English & Marathi, with interactive features and profile-led services. We are glad to have achieved yet another milestone with WhatsApp and are hopeful about integrating more such platforms successfully, in the future.”

ChannelDrive Bureauhttp://www.channeldrive.in
ChannelDrive Bureau covers the latest developments in the space of ICT, technology, solutions and implementations and delivers content focused around solution providers, system integrators, distributors and technology partner community in India. ChannelDrive Bureau is headed by Zia Askari. He can be reached at ziaaskari@channeldrive.in

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