Interactive helpline launched for Jharkhand, Delhi

An interactive voice response system (IVRS) aimed at empowering women and girls was launched in the Delhi and Jharkand here on Wednesday.

New Delhi: An interactive voice response system (IVRS) aimed at empowering women and girls was launched in the Delhi and Jharkand here on Wednesday.

The service, has been launched jointly by Jharkhand government and Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry here under the Sable scheme at the the Youth Connect-Leveraging Technology for Young People conference.

Two toll-free numbers for the two states, launched under the scheme aims to "help school drop out adolescent girls to be aware of various entitlements."

The conference was held in association with Microsoft and Centre for Catalyzing Change.

"The Sabla scheme ensures that the out of school girls in every village receive live skill education, nutrition, health services, vocational training at the local anganwadi center," says Aprajita Gogoi, Executive Director, Centre for Catalysing Change, which was formally known as CEDPA (Centre for Development and Population Activities).

"We have been supporting the government of Jharkhand and Delhi in implementing the scheme, however this is an additional service," says Gogoi.

"Girls in villages may not own a mobile phone but they have access to it in the family. We have taken into account that many may not have the money to make a paid call. So this service works on a missed call basis. So you give a missed call to either 09250500111 for Jharkhand or 09250500444 for Delhi," Gogoi told PTI.

Once a missed call is given to the two numbers the IVRS calls back the girl and take her through the scheme as well as helps a person to give a feedback about their entitlements.

Awareness about the helpline is planned through village panchayats, government employees working in the area and media and NGOs who work with adolescent girls.

"Since this depends only on the cellular network so I don't think there will be any difficulty in women and girls reaching out to this system. The only thing is that they should be aware of this system which will be provided through the two primary modes," says Nagendra Nath Sinha, Principal Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Jharkhand who launched the IVRS system at the conference.

Sinha, also sheds light on the fact that not all villages in Jharkahnd have cellular connectivity and the government is is working so that women can benefit from the IVRS to empower themselves.

"Out of 7000 villages out of 32,000 villages are not connected to any cellur provider in Jharkhand. I would say about 80 to 85 per cent of the habitation is covered. I am aware that BSNL is working on providing celluar connectivity for the remaining areas," says Sinha.

The service has been launched in 200 districts and implentors say there is hope that the project will be scaled up in the near future.

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