Indian government launches public services chatbot tender

By on 06/01/2021 | Updated on 06/01/2021
With mobile phone ownership rising fast, the Indian government aims to use AI to boost access to digital services. Credit: Adam Cohn/Flickr

The Indian government is seeking tech firms to build an AI-powered chatbot to help citizens access digital services, issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) last week. 

According to The Times of India, the RFP ­– published by the National E-Governance Division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Friday – envisages an app akin to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. 

The idea is to create an app that can converse with “the public in multiple languages, analyse sentiments and intent, collect and analyse data to give personalised experience to users”, according to the paper. 

The app would be deployed on the government’s UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) platform, which already provides a single platform for citizens to access e-government services from central and local government bodies across India. 

UMANG was developed by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and National e-Governance Division to drive e-governance in India. 

The RFP states: “The platform should be able to provide assistance with general tasks, including but not limited to availing services of government and available on the UMANG platform, such as registration, login, reset password, department service relation information, event, [and] new launch…etc.”  

It adds: “Platforms should also have other deep learning capabilities, which can be used by platforms for discovery and recommendation of eligible schemes and services to the users of bots/applications. Users should be recommended best-fit schemes and services available in government domain based on his/her profile.” 

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