Glitches force users to dump Karnataka Mobile One app

City Gadget Governance Tech

Many say money debited was not put in Metro cards

Technical glitches in the award-winning Karnataka Mobile One app is forcing people to stop using it.

Chirashwini S, a college student, said: “I recharged my Metro card for Rs 1,000 using the app in 2019. Money got deducted from my account but was not credited to my Metro card. Annoyed, I made calls to customer care to get my money back. After that, I stopped using the application.”

Chirashwini is not alone.

Prakash Perumal, a mechanical engineer, said: “I transacted through the app for some time. It worked well. But one day, while I was recharging my BMRCL card for Rs 100, the money was deducted but not credited to my Metro card. Since it was a small amount, I let it go and stopped using the app.”

Sanghavi, a housewife, is hesitant to use the app after hearing about such mishaps from her friends. “Two of my friends told me the app has problems with transactions. They said they had lost money while trying to recharge their BMRCL cards. I downloaded but had problems signing in. So I uninstalled it.”

Following continuous disruptions in August 2019, BMRCL officials asked Metro users to not use the app to recharge Metro cards. Users could not sign in.

Harshi Srinivas, project manager of the Karnataka Mobile One app, Electronic Delivery for Citizen Services (EDCS), informed The Observer: “The application is facing minor technical glitches due to a rebuilding process. Currently, even BMRCL recharges have been made perfect, and 8,000 to 10,000 transactions take place through the app in a month. Since the old version and its features are outdated, we are working on producing a better version. The app will be on track within a week, and all transactions made henceforth will be successful. Transactions are a very small part in the app. Other than that, the app focuses on SMS services and is used by around 90 Karnataka government departments.”

Gopi Krishna, a software engineer, said: “There are a lot of issues that cause technical glitches in the app. Transaction errors are mostly because of open code usage, cross-device testing and network compatibility.”

While transferring cash on a 4G mobile, network issues reduce the speed to 3G or 2G. This disturbs the transaction and hence money is deducted from a user’s account but not credited to the source, Krishna explained. The glitch can be rectified by revamping the app.

According to a source in the Karnataka e-governance department, the app has been downloaded on 4 lakh Android and 45,000 iOS mobiles till date. The app won a gold medal at the World Government Summit in Dubai for crossing the transaction amount of Rs.13.51 crore in 2016.

Only 0.4% of Karnataka’s mobile users seem to have downloaded the app, according to data published by Karnataka Evaluation Authority, in association with the Centre for e-Governance in 2017. 

Karnataka Mobile One, launched by President Pranab Mukherjee to mark the Digital India initiative in December 2014, is a one-stop platform for 4,500 services of state and central government departments as well as private service providers. Services available through the app include utility bill, income and property tax payment; Sakala services; bus and railway ticket booking; application for various government and private services in the categories of healthcare, banking, travel, legal, agriculture and other areas. Payments can be made through credit card, Internet banking, debit card, IMPS, cash cards and wallets provided by Karnataka Mobile One.

The app, primarily developed by IMI Mobile, was transferred to EDCS in 2018.

adilin.b@iijnm.org

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