The Bihar government has started making use of apps to empower women and spread awareness about the same. Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi recently launched an Android-based mobile application, ‘Bandhan Tod‘, to sensitize people about important issues. Through this app, he aims to resolve issues of child marriage, dowry and gender inequality.
The objective is also to provide information about various government initiatives and provisions related to these issues.
The app, developed by Gender Alliance, is equipped with an SOS feature or an alert system to assist girls who are being forced into early marriages or harassed for dowry. If a girl activates the alert, Gender Alliance officials would locate the victim and reach out to her
A salient feature of this app is that even those girls who do not possess a smartphone can avail of the service.
“If one of her friends has an Android phone, she can refer her friend’s number in order to receive an OTP. Once this OTP is entered in the app, the number is stored. One person can refer many people. If a girl with a simple cellphone is in danger, she can contact her friend who, through the app on her smartphone, will generate an SOS alert for her friend,” a Gender Alliance official explained.
“It is important for people to understand that when women are financially independent, there will be no need for dowry. Men have to also play an important role in ending this evil by saying no to dowry.”
As of now, 274 civil society organisations are trying to make the app available to peer groups who have access to Android phones in villages who can refer girls through their phone.
“We are trying for the government to adopt the app. In the second phase, hopefully, with the consent of the government, the campaign will try to sensitize and train health workers who can refer girls from their phone and mobilise community. Mobiwiki has accepted to incentivize this reference method,” she said.
Need to uplift women
Reiterating the role of financial independence in women’s lives, the deputy CM said, “It is important for people to understand that when women are financially independent, there will be no need for dowry. Men have to also play an important role in ending this evil by saying no to dowry.”
He said no country could move forward without support from half of its population. “With the 50% reservation for women in panchayats, they have developed tremendously. If you educate a woman, you educate her child too,” he added.
“It is sad that people still think if they spend an exponential sum of money on their sons, they will get it back in the form of dowry,” said Women Development Corporation managing director N Vijayalaxmi.