Karnataka MobileOne, the much anticipated and hyped initiative from the state government was finally launched by President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday. The multi-mode mobile governance service could be accessed both on feature phones and smartphones, including on iOS and Android platforms. This is the first look of the app:
Signing up troubles
However, my subsequent logins were smoother, which gives a hope that the app improves each time we use it.
The home screen of the app looks neat (this was one of my fears because the app offers access to almost 4,500 services), with a maximum of 9 service icons on a page. Click on ‘More’ to discover other icons. Click on the top-right corner and you can find home, my profile, my transactions, help, Emergency contacts and logout options. Next, I tried to explore what’s inside some of these icons:
Let me take the onus to burst the first myth about the app. Not all the services are free of cost. For instance, the telecom service lets you recharge your phone. There are both pre-paid and post-paid recharge options. However,transaction charges apply for pre-paid recharges via the app.
And this is directly proportional to the amount of your recharge. For example, the transaction charge is Rs 5 up to any recharge of Rs 500 and Rs 10 for those above Rs 500. When there is various other better online recharge options available, one can imagine how far this service would go.
Though the agriculture services section looks promising, farmers have to pay to subscribe to some of the crop alerts and solutions. We will be covering more details regarding various services in our detailed review later.
The app tries to deliver a lot of services in the health care segment. The ‘book a doctor’ facility lets you have the luxury to select a doctor of your choice from the list of specialty doctors to fix an appointment. There is also an option to find a doctor or clinic by just entering the respective names.
However, the service failed to bring out the desired results due to lack of uniformity in the details provided. For instance, when the ‘book appointment’ option was available only for some doctors, the ‘show number’ option that appeared along with the names of each doctor on the list, often failed to show any results. But this was not the case when I clicked on the doctor’s name to know more details. The number did show up this time.
There are other services in health care segment like maternal and child solutions and Tele-ICU solution that involves remote patient monitoring IT solution wherein a doctor at a different location being able to monitor a patient in a tier-2/3 city via a camera. The service definitely has a lot more potential to deliver.
Not a pan Karnataka experience
So did you think all the services from MobileOne are available across Karnataka? Take a deep breath before you continue...Utility services from Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company and Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewarage Board, of course, are available only for the citizens of Bengaluru, while services from HESCOM- Hubli Electricity Supply Company - are only for Hubli citizens. These can be availed by simply registering through your account number.
Target financial inclusion
Banking offers services only from Canara Bank, ICICI Bank, PNB, Axis Bank and SBI. From what I could understand on a first glance basis, the service helps you to open an account in any of these banks. MobileOne has been rightly made a tool to expand the reach of Jan Dhan Yojana.
The app was really slow. The wait from one step to the next or even to come back to previous one seemed to take ages. Moreover, the app slowed down my handset, too.