Q&A with Ashish Rana
Ashish Rana is the software developer behind Qbila - a geolocation based public information platform that connects government organizations with people living in the region they are serving.
What was your inspiration?
It started when I was living in Delhi, near the place where the rape incident of December 16th happened in 2012. The most disturbing part for me was that that place was just two streets beyond where I was living, but I was not able to know it from the local source, but from the news agencies, the national news agencies. So it showed how disconnected we are from our localities.
One day I was thinking [about] this problem, [and] I realized that even the government organizations are struggling with this problem. They are having a hard time giving out implementation information or whatever information they have, to the people. So the present traditional media that exists, it has high costs, and even social media, like Facebook, Twitter, are not designed for government needs. Even the milliseconds, seconds of users’ attention has a cost to it, and unless I am visiting a page frequently, it is hard to get information from the page itself automatically. So I thought the solution lies in creating a system, a digital system like Facebook, that enables the government organizations and social organizations to stay in contact with the people, and give out the message consistently. So that the people know what is happening with the government, and the government knows what the people actually think about what they are doing about it.
How would you define success?
In the most successful situation I imagine that everyone will be using the system and they will get the the relevant information for them. For example, [when] the police department has information about crime in the region, they can tell that people that there is a pattern of crime, how they can stay safe or something like that. Same is the case of diseases. Also … farmers can get the latest progress in what kinds of subsidies, what kind of facilities they are getting from the government, and how to access that easily.
What takeaways do you have from the Symposium?
It’s been a great experience, I’m happy to be here. The ideas here are giving me the understanding that we are all connected, at least by the problems. The problem that exists in Argentina is something that I will find in my home place also, and the same is with all the ideas. We need to solve the problems and as many possible solutions are welcome.