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Coronavirus: How Airtel is helping migrants access food, shelter via SMSes

Bharti Airtel and Vahan are amalgamating their resources and technology to connect affected workers in Delhi and Bengaluru with the nearest support centres and NGOs

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Last Updated: April 17, 2020  | 16:24 IST
Coronavirus: How Airtel is helping migrants access food, shelter via SMSes

India's leading cellular operator Airtel is trying to connect millions of blue-collar workers and migrants, who have been impacted due to the COVID-19 lockdown, to the nearest support centres. Airtel believes that given the current situation, there is an urgent requirement to provide migrants access to basic relief services such as food, shelter, healthcare and even jobs, wherever possible, especially in top metros.

For this, Airtel has collaborated with the Bengaluru-based AI tech start-up Vahan. Bharti Airtel and Vahan are amalgamating their resources and technology to connect affected workers in Delhi and Bengaluru with the nearest support centres and NGOs.

Airtel will launch a massive SMS campaign to reach out to all such impacted workers on its network. The SMSes will be sent in English, Hindi and Kannada, and will carry a quick link that will guide users to Vahan's platform. Once the receiver clicks on the link, Vahan will use its advanced artificial intelligence solution to connect the user with the nearest relief providers. For this, Vahan has already created a resource pool of 1000-plus help groups and NGOs which are working actively to help fellow citizens.

Madhav Krishna, CEO of Vahan, says, "We at Vahan, in close partnership with Airtel, are really proud to be able to leverage the power of our technology to touch millions of the most needy when they require our help the most. We are also excited about our ability to help these people get jobs as we all work towards returning to normalcy."

Vahan claims to enable jobs for the next billion internet users and matches job seekers with employers inside messaging apps such as WhatsApp. Airtel had also acquired a stake in Vahan as part of its Startup Accelerator Program in October 2019.

Earlier, Airtel had extended the pre-paid pack validity for millions of low-income customers on its network. All these customers were able to get incoming calls on their Airtel mobile numbers even after the validity of their plan had been exhausted. Airtel had also credited an additional Rs 10 of talk time in the pre-paid accounts of all these customers to enable them to make calls or send SMS and therefore stay connected with their loved ones. Airtel also allows users to do a self-assessment for coronavirus using the My Airtel app. The carrier along with Apollo hospitals unveiled an AI-based customer tool to assess COVID-19 risks.

As of today,  there are 11,201 active coronavirus cases; 1748 has been cured/discharged and 437 died due to the infection.

Also Read: IMF's projection of 1.9% GDP growth for India highest in G-20, says RBI Governor Das

Also Read: Coronavirus could cost millions of jobs in tourism sector, says UN

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