Punjab ties up with Ola for e-passes to 17 lakh farmers for procucrement

The Punjab Government has, in collaboration with OLA, developed a unique centralized automated, logic-based technology platform for issuance of e-Passes to the 17 lakh odd farmers in the state, along with online management and regulation of all trolleys and vehicular movement in the Mandis.

The initiative/app has been adopted by the Punjab Mandi Board to launch an e-Pass system with the help of Department of Governance Reforms and Public Grievances, in an effort to further streamline the procurement operations in the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis.

The OLA app, installed on the mobile phones of the farmers, shall also alert them on the rush spots at the Mandi gates to check overcrowding. The centralized dashboard of the app, a unique initiative aligned to the social distancing guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, shall also give alerts on pass issuance, expiry and validation.

This unique system enables Secretaries of Market Committees across the State to generate mobility passes for farmers by the Purchase Centers as well as by the Ahrtiyas. The software generates the required number of passes automatically, based on historic data available with the Mandi Board.

All Artiyas shall be provided with one pass for one Trolley of wheat. The passes for a particular day are provided 3 days before that day to the Artiyas, to prevent any kind of rush. This automated technology solution removes all unnecessary bias and opportunities of favouritism, thus bringing in transparency to the process.

The Artiyas shall distribute these mobility passes to their farmers to enable the latter to come on the designated date at the concerned Purchase Center. The farmer shall also receive an SMS with Pass number and link to download the app.

Vishwajit Khanna, Additional Chief Secretary, Development, Govt. of Punjab, said that apart from the ePass system, an mPass system has also been developed in the ePMB mobile application. A Unicode SMS is sent to every Arhtiya at the time of pass issuance. The Arhtiya can allocate the passes to trolley drivers through the in-built mPass system. The drivers can then download the mPass using the SMS received on his number, and use this mPass at various Police Nakas for permitted mobility.

The online vehicular management shall help the Board maintain law and order protocols as well as DHS guidelines in the Mandis, said Khanna.

Ravi Bhagat, Secretary Punjab Mandi Board and Special Secretary Governance Reforms, said that, with features such as geotagging, geohashing, alerts and emergency support, this unique technology solution will help the government manage mandi operations well. It will also minimize disruptions to the food supply network in the country, while keeping government staff as well as citizens safe.

Speaking on this partnership, Pranay Jivrajka, Co-founder Ola, said, “With the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, nations across the globe are struggling to counter the threat posed by the pandemic.” He thanked the Punjab Government for the opportunity to collaborate in serving farmers and citizens at large.

“By helping the government connect with farmers using our technology platform, we are able to put our capabilities to the best use when the nation requires innovation and collaboration to quickly come out of this national crisis. As a leading home-grown technology company and a platform that is used by millions of Indians every day, Ola is committed to serving the nation in every way possible,” he added.