Track the Great Indian Election on Facebook

Facebook Launched India Election Tracker app to provide a live stream of the candidates. The app also has a poll section. It displays the leading candidates and parties on a real time basis based on the mentions on facebook.We can view the results of the ranking for the last 7 days.

facebook election tracker

Apart from the tracker, facebook also launched a feature called Facebook Talks where a video show with interaction from the politicians are being held. Recently Narendra Modi was to be the first guest of this multi-screen multi-platform live show. But later he decided not to participate and the show launched on March 04, 2014 with Arvind Kejriwal as the first guest.

Google has also launched a Election Page which contains the latest news and happening on the Election. The page is bi-lingual.

Save the Hacker – An event to fight the mediocrity trend in Technology

save the hacker

Save the Hacker – An event to fight mediocrity among coders.

Save the Hacker is a two-day hackathon organized by Freshdesk, meant for college students who want to demonstrate their talent and smart engineers who are stuck in an IT services company. If you feel like you are one of them, stuck, with nowhere to go, here’s your last chance at redemption. Code your heart out for two days straight, show us what you have, and while at it, win some great prizes.

Not long ago hackers went out their way to make stuff that made a difference. Today they are mired in corporate red tape, mundane rules and corporate bull shit. Writing awesome code didn’t really matter anymore, work lives became a 9-5 thing and god-level geeks allowed themselves to pursue strategic mediocrity. Today, the hacker is a dying species, endangered by pointless hierarchies, outrageous dress codes, and teammates who are hell-bent on being lazy. But wait, there’s still hope.

Save the Hacker will take place at the Freshdesk office in Chennai on March 1-2, 2014.

Registrations are free and will be open until the 25th of February. You can compete in a team of up to 4 people or be a lone wolf.

You can build a web or mobile app. Coding must be started during the hackathon only. No reusing existing stuff. At the end of the hackathon, you will be asked to give a 5 minute demo of your project to a panel of judges. We’ll be evaluating it based on the original idea, the completeness, and the technical challenge that went behind building your app.

If you’ve got questions, shoot them an email:

We will be offering cash prizes of Rs.1,00,000 (and maybe something else) for the winners.

How to Ask Your Government and Get answers for Public Interest Questions

Information is the Anti-dote to Corruption.

Public Minded citizens are now asking various questions under RTI and making the bureaucracy dispense the information. Question Hour of the Parliament is considered the toughest time for ruling government where legislators ask questions and government is bound to answer. When RTI Act came into force the power to ask questions became available to the Aam Aadmi. Like legislators now even bureaucrats fear about the RTI Questions. It keeps them on their toes.

Most requests in RTI are made for personal issues/work. But when a question of larger public interest is made it becomes relevant to a lot of people. Ask Your Government  is a community around asking public interest questions. Citizens can start with knowing about RTI, How to Ask, Browse RTI requests and Responses or by reading public reactions. This will help in galvanizing the community to deliberate on issue of public interest.

The site also contains FAQs on RTI. The RTI Act is also available for download in 10  indian languages.

The facility to ask RTI questions online and publicly is available in many other countries. What do they Know of  UK, Ask the EU of  European UnionKosovo and Brazil are some good examples. What stifles the RTI movement in India is the need for payment of Rs,10/- as fees. If that requirement is waived off public authorities can be made to provide information online.

It will a great innovation if a Govpreneur can provide a service for Public Offices to provide information under the act using online platforms on payment of fees. Such an initiative is already underway in Government of India to make online RTI requests. However it will be sometime before the facility is available to states and local authorities and small public establishments. Till the online RTI space is open for disruption.

History of Right to Information

World over Right to Information is also known as Freedom of Information

Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 is the oldest in the world. In the 18th century, after over 40 years of mixed experiences with parliamentarism, public access to government documents was one of the main issues with the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766. Although the novelty was put out of order 1772–1809, it has since remained central in the Swedish mindset, seen as a forceful means against corruption and government agencies’ unequal treatment of the citizens, increasing the perceived legitimacy of (local and central) government and politicians. The Principle of Publicity (Swedish: Offentlighetsprincipen), as the collection of rules are commonly referred to, provides that all information and documents created or received by a public institution (local or central government, and all publicly operated establishments) must be available to all members of the public. It also states that all public institutions must do everything in their power to give anyone access to any information that he or she might want as soon as possible.

Over 90 countries around the world have implemented some form of freedom of information legislation.



HealthCare Magic – Get your Medical Queries Answered in a jiffy

health care magic helpline

The beauty of internet is that it connects the haves and have nots. Its connects the knowledge seeker with the knowledge provider. Anything that can be delivered in zeroes and ones is being transformed by this magic of internet. Education has been revolutionized by MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Healthcare is the next big frontier. Telemedicine was the first foray to transform physical boundaries to provide medical care. Today doctors are consulted routinely using email, web cam and chat.

70% of U.S. adults got information, care, or support from a doctor or other health care professional. Not finding right information and the mental stress may lead to “cyberchondria”  – a state of anxiety related to health research on the Internet, it can get worse as reliable information is sought, but not necessarily found. On the other hand searching for medical information can make you sick.

Getting right information from right source is a critical gap addressed by this service. HealthCare Magic service helps you ask a and get your queries answered by doctors from around the world, with medically correct information. This Ask-a-doctor service even covers special areas like cardiology, urology, neurology and oncology. While anyone is free to make a query that will be answered by willing doctors some type of consultations need to be paid.

A single query to a General Physician costs Rs 199 and a single query to a Specialist costs Rs 599.

An unlimited General Physician package costs Rs 799 a month and an unlimited Specialist package costs Rs 1,499 a month.


Reinvent the Toilet Challenge India – Funding Opportunity

reinvent the toilet challenge

Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, seeks to support the development of innovative, new sanitation technologies, products, and services. The program’s goal is to develop sustainable sanitation solutions that can address the many challenges facing poor and vulnerable urban and rural populations in India and the developing world. These challenges include suppressing the flow of pathogens into the environment, improving users’ acceptance and experience, and developing solutions that are easy to maintain and operate in resource poor settings and that complement existing sanitation infrastructure.

This Request for Proposals is specific to India and open to anyone who is interested in applying. Grants will be to innovators who are Indian individuals or Indian entities, but we encourage partnerships with researchers in other countries, especially where the opportunity exists to build on established collaborations.

The goal of the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge – India” is to fund a portfolio of  Indian-led pilot projects that seek to contribute innovations that can be incorporated into a next generation toilet that will reduce the burden of excreta-related disease and improve the lives of the poor. The aim is to expand the use of toilet and sanitation technologies that do not connect to a sewer, as this is by far the most common approach used by the poor.

About Grand Challenges India

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Government of India and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) have launched Grand Challenges India, a partnership framework for joint programs.

This partnership aims to support initiatives that could dramatically change the health and development landscape in India and leverage Indian innovations to support other countries facing similar challenges.

The partnership identifies the following priorities for cooperation:

1) reduction of maternal and child mortality and morbidity;

2) scientific and technical solutions for infectious diseases;

3) strengthening India’s scientific translation capacity;

4) scientific and technical advances related to agriculture, and

5) scientific advancement in food and nutrition.

The submissions deadline is November 15, 2013. Click here to apply.

First Global Twitter Conference on Mahatma Gandhi held by Sam Pitroda

gandhiji twitter conference invitation
The First Global Twitter Conference on Mahatma Gandhi was held on his 144th birthday today. Organized by none other than Sam Pitroda Today ( 2nd Oct) at 7 PM IST via Twitter Handle @pitrodasam and Hash Tag: #Gandhi . The Twitter conference garnered more than 7000 tweets from across 94 countries. The aim was to discuss the life and  message of Gandhiji among the twitteratti.

When asked wether today’s computerisation any relevance to Gandhiji’s thoughts, Nirupama Rao ( @NMenonRao ) pitched in saying Gandhiji saw technology as a tool of empowerment. The electronic mouse is truly a “vahana”.

Sam Pitroda has been very active using twitter. This is not the first Twitter conference he has held. Last year in september he had conducted a twitter conference on “Democratisation of Information”. It was touted as the first ever press conference on twitter.

Despite of having the limitations of wordage (just 140 character), Twitter seems to be emerging out as the most powerful medium of politicians, industrialists and think-tanks to express their views of various issues, especially on policy matters.

Pitroda’s example of using the micro-blogging platform for holding a press conference may well set an example of how to using such platforms for holding virtual press conferences going forward.

The Prime Minister had recently launched a Gandhi Heritage Portal and it is now available at The Portal developed by the Sabarmati Ashram under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India hosts Gandhiji’s Autobiography in 22 languages. It also has placed the ‘Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi’ in three languages: English 100 volumes, Hindi 97 volumes and Gujarati 82 volumes. In all, the Portal presents more than 5 lakh pages, 21 films, 72 audio speeches of Gandhiji and over a 1000 photographs.

Despite this effort to spread the message of Gandhi twitteratti were busy tweeting about #GandhijiKaChashma as it was trending worldwide. Gandhiji was a social innovator. In todays socially connected world would Gandhiji have used twitter. The Gandhi Heritage portal has the answer.

Read through the happenings of the Twitter Conference as it evolved in this Storify embed below.


Which Country is closest to Your Utopia–in terms of MDGs

What if you could guide the destiny of our country. What if you could decide on the importance of various development choices we face as a country. Is infant mortality more important to you or health spending(as % of GDP) of the government. What will happen if you are given the choice of changing various policy options towards the achievement of the Millennium  Development Goals. What will you choose?

Well you see how your choices will workout and also find a list of countries which form the closest to your ideal priorities in achieving the MDGs. Go ahead and try this game at YourTopia – meaning Your UTOPIA. You will get a list of countries in descending order. Try this… it fun and enlightening.

yourtopia app

Yourtopia sums up human development according to your criteria. In a short quiz you choose how important different dimensions of development are to you, and the application calculates how countries do overall, according to your priorities.

Your personal measure of social progress calculated by Yourtopia makes tracking developments easy by combining large datasets into a single index.

With your anonymised quiz data you furthermore participate in constructing the world’s first multiple-dimension index of human development that overcomes the problem of arbitrary indicator-weighting and proxy choices through open public voting.

More at

How about a Phone Service for the Hearing Impaired

Modernised National Relay Service (For hearing impaired) – Australian Example which India needs.

Around 6% population of India suffers from some hearing difficulty, making it one of the countries with the highest number of hearing impaired. Of these, one in 1,000 people are born with hearing defect, while one in 10,000 children have a structural anomaly, rendering their ears too small to be able to hear well. <source>


relay service australia

The NRS is an Australian Government initiative funded by a levy on eligible telecommunications carriers.

The NRS consists of:

  • a Relay Service Provider which runs the call centre where relay officers relay your calls to other people, and
  • an Outreach Service Provider which runs the outreach service to provide a Helpdesk, and education and information activities which support awareness, training and use of the NRS.

You can type and read your conversation entirely via a TTY or via internet relay on a computer or mobile phone. Depending on your particular requirements, the relay officer can become “your voice” and read out your conversation to the other person. The relay officer can also listen to the response and type it back for you to read.

The privacy of all parties is respected and all calls are treated confidentially.

Following a competitive tender process, the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) signed – in February 2013 – new contracts with Australian Communication Exchange and WestWood Spice to deliver the National Relay Service (NRS). The Government’s aim throughout this process was to ensure that a broad range of technologies was used to provide efficient services to those that need it most.

The improved NRS will enable hearing and speech impaired people to:

· For the first time, use SMS to contact emergency service organisations

· Make and receive phone calls through a new two-way internet relay service

· Access all NRS services through a new application available on smart-phone and other internet-enabled devices

· Access a video relay service, which will be available between 7am and 6pm on business days

· Use a web-based service that provides captioned telephony for the hearing impaired

Regulatory changes will be required for a number of these initiatives, they are expected to be in place by the time the new NRS contract begins on 1 July. This will allow new services to be progressively introduced as soon as possible in the second half of 2013.

The NRS will continue to provide its existing teletypewriter (TTY) and speech services 24-hours a day, every day of the year, as well as its extensive training and education services.

4 Mobile Apps to Prevent Indian Women from Getting Raped

The Government is taking serious legal steps to provide improve women safety in the country by providing for death penalty and minimum 20 years punishment. While it is yet to see the light of the day, you take your safety literally in your hands. These mobile apps can help you send alerts in case of untoward happenings, at the push of a button. Go ahead and install and app and delete fear.


EyeWatch App

eye watch app

Sends SOS alerts even if you are not connected to GPRS

Immediately captures audio-visual information of the situation to share with your Emergency Contacts

Tracks your family in case of emergency

Confirms your safety to your loved ones without raising SOS alert

Provides back-up when you’re out of coverage reach and sends SOS alerts finding the nearest network*

Automatically alerts your contacts in case of your car crash, medical fall by sensing sudden drop of your phone*

Automatically sends emergency alerts even if you are incapacitated*

Eyewatch mobile app works with different mobile platforms such as BlackBerry, Android and selected Nokia Symbian S60.


Download EyeWatch App Now  You need to register on their website to provide personal details.


Me Against Rape

me against rape app

Me Against Rape app is available for Android-based smartphones for free.
The app features a one-touch helpline facility, recording facility, and can send location and time details every 10 minutes — including latitude, longitude, address and Google Maps link.

Download Me Against Rape App

Fightback App

fightback app

The ‘Fight Back’ app allows user to send SOS message via SMS, e-mail and Facebook at the press of a single key.

The Fight Back app is designed to work with Nokia, Samsung, HTC and Blackberry

Download Fightback App now

Nirbhaya App

nirbhaya app

Nirbhaya is a Smartphone application, which can send a distress call or message to a specified contact or group in an emergency situation faced by a woman or any person in general.

It sends an alert by way of an SMS or phone call or Facebook Post with the woman’s/person’s location to the configured group through the Global Positioning System (GPS).

It can also be used in case of attempted molestation, accident, family emergency or any other ‘customizable’ emergency alert called ‘Scream’ through pre-defined text messages. The application is compatible at present with Android mobile phones. The user is also required to submit personal details such as residential address, blood group and emergency contact numbers.

Download Nirbhaya App now



Airtel provides emergency alert service

Bharti Airtel has launched its emergency alert service in the eastern region of the country. The service, aimed at the women subscribers, allows one to send an alert with their geographical location to their 10 contacts. The service is priced at Rs. 30 with a validity of 30 days. To send the alert via SMS, users need to type HELP in the message box and send it to 55100, which will be then sent to all 10 contacts. Read more at

Government of India is working on a Wrist Watch with GPS capabilities

The wristwatch contains a GPS chip that will keep a track of the wearer’s location and, at the press of a button, send those details, through an SMS, to the nearest police station and pre-selected mobile numbers. The watch will also have an in-built video camera that can capture video for thirty minutes, once the button is pushed.

Read more

Rail Radar: Tracking trains on a Google Map

A few years ago I stumbled upon a live flight tracking system called Casper which later evolved into a full fledged commercial service to get real time flight tracking data called Casper Flights. I have worked for the Indian Railways and answered a million queries about train arrivals/departures to passengers. I always fancied how it would be to get a live data of train movements and now the dream has come into reality. The Rail Radar marks a major milestone on the Digital Governance highway the Indian Railways is cruising in.


Now you can spot almost any train on a Google Map and color coded to distinguish the ones running on-time(blue) and those delayed(red). On the left side is the search button, where you can search for a train number or by name and it will show you the train position on the Google Map. On the right top corner a tiny bar shows the percentage of train running on-time and delayed and also the total trains active at present. At present the data is updated every five minutes. The Rail Radar is the logical evolution of the National Train Enquiry System which was able to show the running status of a train and the arrival/departure time at stations.

How is the data generated for this mapping? In simplistic terms consider that Indian Railways has train passing monitoring points around the country at more than 6000 locations. These monitoring points in real-time mode communicate updates on train arrival, departure, or passing to a central headquarter server. In substantial cases these updates are automated however there are places/situations where this reporting is also done manually. The data is generated and officially held by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). The Rail Radar shows only passenger trains.

Here is a comparison chart I made between Casper and Rail Radar. Though it means comparing the earth and the sky(literally) you may find it interesting.



Rail Radar

Delay in Update Approx. 40 seconds Minimum 5 mins.
Data Capture method Flights fitted with mode-s transponder  broadcast their position Data collection points at more than 6000 locations most of it is automated.
Cost Free and Paid options Free and in Beta.
Geography Across Europe Indian Railway Network
Data Source Data sourced from receivers. You can offer yours too. Proprietary


Rail Radar: Official CV (from their FAQ)

RailRadar™ is a live tracker of Indian Railways passenger trains traffic in real time. This live tracker is shown on an interactive map and allows users to watch the movements of trains which are currently running in entire India. RailRadar™ is an outcome of innovation where Indian Railways Center for Railway Information System (CRIS) and joined hands.

The core motivation behind building RailRadar™ was an age-old saying – “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Today we believe that it can be more! Over the last decade, train network and traffic in India have grown tremendously. Indian Railways expects this trend to continue over the next few decades.

There is also an yellow icon which represents a train which is currently expected to reach its next stop on time (typically with delays of 15 mins or less).


The Rail Radar project has been shelved and presently the link forwards to . As per this news the new interface is developed by CRIS and is touted to be more user friendly. However this seems a very regressive step by CRIS to maintain its monopoly of Railway information. Just have a look. The project moved from

Rail Radar


and this

Rail Radar features


to this bland interface




This is a very regressive step taken by CRIS without much explanation. However such monopoly can be held for long. Citizens need data that can make their life easier. And i hope that the step will reversed soon. What do you think could be reason for shelving such a good project. Share your comments below.