Indian govt to introduce voice command feature for Umang app

Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) will soon add a Voice command feature. After this feature is added, you will be able to operate this app on your voice commands like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.

Umang, a Digital India initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, introduces the voice command feature to make it easy for people to access information. The app was introduced to ease access to government services.

The Indian government, in collaboration with an AI firm Senseforth.ai, added the voice command feature to the Umang app. The feature will be added in both Hindi and English languages. Additionally, 10 major Indian languages will also be added to the app after 6 to 8 months.

“Governments around the world are going on the digitalization journey, and potentially a huge part of the dreams of people could be left out if they don’t access the citizen services that are provided on digital platforms,” Shridhar Marri, co-founder, and chief executive of Bengaluru-based Senseforth.ai told ET.

With the introduction of the voice command feature, you will be able to do all the work, from downloading your vaccination certification to viewing your PF passbook by saying, ‘Hey Umang.’ Adding this feature to the app will greatly benefit those who cannot take advantage of any service by typing. In such a situation, these users can take advantage of the facilities available on the app by speaking in the Hindi language on the app.

“Conversational AI is one way to address this by using local language input through voice or text, and then providing the same level of service without using a mobile app or going to a website,” Marri added.

It is noteworthy that the government made a support page before bringing the voice command feature to the app. This support is available on 13 citizen services, including E-Raktakosh, EPFO, Jan Aushadhi, ESIC (Employees’ State Insurance Corporation), National Scholarships, and AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education), Cowin and Atal Pension Yojana.

Other features will be added to the app in nearby future. In addition, the feature was made available to over 500,000 users who interacted with the text-based virtual assistant asking over one million questions.