Prashasan-E: The Citizens’ Lens into Governmental Operations

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Prashasan-E is the first product developed by Rabin Bishwakarma and his team of tech developers including Gagan Puri, Bikram Bhurtel & Anil Pokhrel. In a nutshell, it is a web and phone-based application that allows better communication between the government and its citizens as well as various departments of the government itself.
Bishwakarma talks about the different features of his app, also emphasizing the need for greater transparency and coordination at the government level. While explaining the details of the product he also gives us his insight on solving social problems as a computer technology enthusiast. He believes in the importance of knowing the practical applications of your education and urges students to pursue their interests beyond the school syllabus as much as possible and as soon as possible. Continue reading to hear more from him about Prashasan-E. 

1. Could you give us a general introduction to your product, Prashasan-E?
It’s an e-governance application that acts as a mediator between the government and the public to create an understanding between them. It can help increase communication between different government departments as well. Citizens can take advantage of this application because if they have an issue with something the government is doing, they can take it up with specific departments through this platform and it happens almost immediately. It can create a feeling of reliability and trust between the public and their governance, and if there are any serious issues the government hears about it first. It is going to be a web application for the government and a phone application for citizens. 

Additionally, it also becomes a place where people can view where the government allocates funds for their annual budget. Citizens can see the kinds of projects these funds are allocated towards, how they are being used and what the status of the projects is. In doing so we are creating transparency that can benefit both parties. 

2. How does it help with intergovernmental communication issues?
There are several different departments that come together to form our government, but within each of those departments, there are several smaller components that need to communicate with each other as well. There have been instances where a lack of coordination between all these different governmental bodies has resulted in a loss of efficiency while completing infrastructure projects. We wanted to create a platform where they could look at the projects being carried out and coordinate them accordingly. 

Another important function of Prashasan-E is that it coordinates all the different web-portals for the numerous departments. Right now people have to visit various webpages find the right contact information for a relevant official to contact them. Our application will bring it all in one place and you can keep getting information and notifications from all the webpages. We also plan on having discussion forums that retired government officials can participate in contributing to public knowledge. 

3. What are your biggest challenges?
It is a big project and will take time but we are working on it. The government is yet to accept it and get on board. There are a lot of challenges to overcome, we need more manpower and funding but support from governmental officials would be very helpful. 

I and my team members are all in the same semester of college, so we’re still young which probably why the CPC was somewhat hesitant to have us involved in such a large project. We are inexperienced and we have the additional workload of our jobs. But we were still able to convince them that we would do a good job.

4. How long has it been since you started this? Why did you start this?
We initiated this idea for the SUTC, the implementation phase has taken a while. It’s only been around 4 to 5 months. We were in our third year of college and heard about the competition so we came up with an idea that could be useful for the government and for citizens who wanted to send their complaints to them. “Hello Sarkar” is an existing application but it isn’t quite as effective. Prashasan-E would help make a more direct linkage and help citizens feel like someone was listening to their complaints.

5. How would you fund this project?
We plan on using ads for mobile applications, ideally related to the different departments of the government or other relevant private organizations. The initial investment, however, would have to be from the government itself. 

6. Have you discussed this idea with government officials?
We spoke to some officials to find out who was responsible for managing the pipelines and if it was the road department or the water supply department. We found that it was based on the situation and the project. Whoever takes the responsibility for it, ends up doing the job. We inquired about transparency and their perspective on ideas like making the budget transparent. At that point, we were told that things were uncertain and that it was difficult to make everything available to the public. 

During the competition, everyone questioned our idea, even up till the finals. We were told the idea wouldn’t be adopted by the government at any point, which was disheartening but we have persevered. Most people prefer the current traditional methods and our idea seems like more work to them even though in the long term it would make things easier and more efficient for them. 

7. How has your experience as an entrepreneur been so far?
I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur, but that is the direction I want to go towards. I’d like to get a few more years of experience before I can call myself an entrepreneur. It’s important to realize your own goals and create your own path towards that instead of following other organizations. You guide yourself, you know your target and you make your mistakes and hopefully reach your goal. Maybe as I follow these personal goals of mine I may unknowingly become an entrepreneur but that’s for later. I just want to follow my own path.

But for people who are even younger than I am and are interested in this, I want to tell them to just so something. Your school curriculum is never enough. You need activities and interests outside of school and you need to do it consistently. The four of us have known each other from the very first semester, and now having gone through this competition we have learned so much more. I am eager to learn more moving forward. 

8. Do you have any other comments?
I teach high school students about computers and what I’ve seen in these students is curiosity. The way that I teach is different from the way most teachers teach. I might be at a higher academic level, but I find that the young students I work with are able to comprehend very technical things that I’m learning too.

We seem to learn everything theoretically for the first 10 years of school and there’s a lot of pressure to learn this theory. But if this computer learning was about 50% practical and 50% theoretical maybe things would be better and we’d be producing more productive manpower in the programming field. They may not know how to code yet but they understand programming, C++, javascript all of it. To the students who are interested in learning more about their interests outside of their school syllabus, I strongly encourage them to do so as much as possible. Start early, identify your interests and learn about it. Learn something new. Especially in the context of tech because that’s going to be everything soon.  

For more information about this idea, connect with Gagan Puri at gaganpuri2055@gmail.com.

Interviewed and article by Jyotika Shah.hasan-e