10 years on, ‘Swabhiman’ turns an outdated portal

Website to book services of skilled labourers in need of technical support

A web-based solution launched by the district administration nearly ten years ago for the public to book the service of skilled labourers at an affordable rate and create better employment opportunities is now close to extinction.

Swabhiman, the exclusive portal which came into existence in 2010, is hardly available now. It lacks the technical support to move in pace with the time. When the new entrants in the field make use of user-friendly mobile applications and vibrant customer support, the Swabhiman team is moving at a slow pace with an outdated telephone booking system.

The total number of enrolled labourers in Swabhiman, which stood at 500 at the time of its launch, is only 100 now. Though there had been over 25 different categories with specialised labourers, only five categories comprising coconut climbers, electricians, plumbers and masons are available now for service.

“When Swabhiman was launched, it was a pioneering scheme which integrated technology for employment generation and quick service delivery. For nearly five years, it went on well with official and public support. After that, the project slowly lost its steam,” said a labourer who was earlier part of the project. He added that the delay in domain renewal also led to the failure of the project.

A proposal to enrol skilled migrant workers and Kudumbashree members in the project remains a non-starter with the frequent changes at the administration level.

Main hurdle

Meanwhile, Unnikrishnan, a coordinator of the project, said the need for a user-friendly application had already been placed before the district administration and the National Informatics Centre. “The cost of designing such an application is the main hurdle now though they are convinced of our demands,” he said.

“Apart from this, we had appealed to the authorities to facilitate the opening of block panchayat-level offices for Swabhiman to expand its network. The main reason for this was to link it with the Labour Department’s services,” said Mr. Unnikrishnan. He added that all the requirements, including the need for better insurance coverage, had already been brought to the attention of the district administration.

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