Complex problems arise when we are dealing with large numbers. Challenges are only unavoidable for the government that manages a volatile population of over 1.3 billion. For a systematic approach towards problems, the government employs various schemes that help infants, retired people, students, and others.
However, it is undeniable that the schemes also have drawbacks. Most times, the information regarding a scheme does not reach the possible beneficiaries. People are neither aware of dozens of schemes nor the benefits they provide. So, even after they have the resources, they have no knowledge on how to utilise it. When Abhishek Dhote faced similar problems, he was pushed into finding a solution.
Abhishek Dhote was born in Amravati, Maharashtra and lived there till the completion of his graduation in engineering. Later, he moved to Pune and acquired the Master’s Degree from the University of Pune. Recently in December, 2015, when Abhishek’s daughter was born, he got to know about an initiative by the government. It was Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, a small deposit scheme for meeting the education and marriage expenses of a girl child.
Though it seemed like a good scheme to invest in, but because of lack of any relevant information made it difficult for him to register for it. He realized that there were many others in need of such informations, and that made him take a concrete step in this direction.
He came up with the idea of govinfo.me which makes government information easy. It is an online repository of government schemes, jobs, scholarships and application procedures. GovInfo provides information in a simple and easy-to-understand way. He then spoke to some of his friends in Amravati and discussed this idea with them. They, too, recognized the problem and all of them decided to work on a solution.
Abhishek quickly developed the website and they all signed up for scheme research and writing. The website was launched in April 16, and in just more than a year, we are 1,300+ schemes on the portal.
“I always wanted to be a social entrepreneur to help the needy. The biggest problems India has are poor health care, illiteracy, un-employment. Various schemes are planned to solve them but these aids never reaches who desperately need them. There is no centralized government agency which is approachable across India to provide information on schemes and aids. This was another reason to start GovInfo,” says Abhishek the founder of GovInfo.
The venture operates from his hometown in Amravati. Being a bootstrapped venture so far, GovInfo is looking for funding. Various people contributed to GovInfo but the prominent ones are Vishal Yadav, Ram Sawai, Akshay Mahalle, Arpit Jajoo and Mayur Mahajan. “All of them are fresh engineering graduates with lots of positivity and energy,” says Abhishek.
GovInfo first started with schemes from the government of India and documented all important ones and then one by one they covered important ones from all the state governments. Slowly they realized that people need jobs, scholarships, application procedures, helpline numbers, exam results etc. in their speaking languages. So they also launched all those vertices and 9 different Indian languages.
Abhishek stresses on the challenges saying, “It has been a roller coaster ride as we were the first start-up out of Amravati with such a big nation-wide impact. Hiring was a big problem since no one believed in us and people wanted to go to Pune/Bangalore for higher studies or jobs instead of working with us. The power supply and internet connectivity was a huge challenge. In fact, we tweeted to Prime Minister and the Telecom Minister once for the long disruptions in BSNL internet connectivity which they responded to.” Today also, finding exact details of the schemes is a challenge for them. “Now since we are the biggest repository and can serve millions in India the challenge now is letting them know that we exist is the biggest challenge,” says Abhishek.
GovInfo covers information from central government and all 29 state governments in India and supports 9 different languages. The GovInfo is now a repository of 1300+ schemes and growing every day. They have daily visitors around 3000-4000 and monthly visitors ranging to 100000+. The daily queries received via live assistance and emails are close to 100. They recently started monetizing it with Google ads senses and it is generating a revenue of $120 a month.
In future, GovInfo aims to organize the government information and make is universally accessible and useful. They want GovInfo to become government wikipedia and single window of government related information.
Concluding the conversation, Abhishek states,” We are doing our bit to the nation, empowering people and bringing them closure to the governments. Governments has schemes for everyone and we are making sure that we simplify and document them, if people, media can share these with needy around then will be a great service to the nation”