On 14th Jan 2022, BMC (Municipal Corporation of Mumbai) launched WhatsApp chatbot. Citizens can message BMC on WhatsApp and start selecting options to avail required information, register a complaint, etc. This probably makes BMC the first Municipal corporation in India and in the world to offer such facility on WhatsApp. Other administrations worldwide have not yet considered this possibly because all of this can be done free of cost, more easily and confidentially using their own website or app.
Besides the potential privacy concerns and burning more energy due to routing communication through WhatsApp, the WhatsApp's conversation-based pricing starting from 1st Feb 2022 will make this expensive for BMC. If citizens are initiating the conversation, then restricting them to only one channel (WhatsApp) and increasing Government's dependence on an external commercial platform is not a long-term solution. For time being, a more appropriate use of WhatsApp can be occasional Government-initiated messages to the citizens.
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