We took Narendra Modi’s app for a spin. This is what it was like
Narendra Modi’s Android app is full of, well, Narendra Modi. This app brings together all the news you could possible get on the Prime Minister, in one handy place in the palm of your hand.apps Updated: Sep 22, 2015 15:28 IST
Narendra Modi’s Android app is full of, well, Narendra Modi. If you ever went on the internet, Googled ‘Narendra Modi’ and promptly drowned in the sea of results, this app brings it all together in one handy place in the palm of your hand.
Launched 'Narendra Modi Mobile App'. Come, lets stay connected on the mobile! pic.twitter.com/FmHHJSCat8— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 17, 2015
The app is a two-pronged strategy: it serves both as the definitive repository of everything Mr. Modi has ever said, written or done (and will say, write or do); and it’s yet another way for the Prime Minister to up his digital footprint and make himself more accessible to citizens.
To download it, simply head to the Google Play Store and click Install. It’s a tiny download — a little over 4 MB — and should take just a few seconds to install on your phone.
Here’s what you will be greeted with when you do this:
First things first: the Prime Minister himself does not need access to your identity, location, or your duck-face selfies. See the screenshot that below? To successfully execute that laundry list of functions, the app needs access to your stuff for reasons it knows best. So go ahead and click Accept.
All set? Launch the app by hitting the Narendra Modi icon on your phone’s homescreen. That sure is a lovely cerulean. Swipe up. Like it says down there.
What’s this? A quick feature rundown. Neat. Swipe swipe swipe. And oh, look, you can earn points too. Sweet.
Once you’re done, you’ll be promoted to log in to the app with either your Facebook or Google accounts. I chose Google, mostly because because the app asked for the permissions you see in the picture below and I don’t use my Google Plus account — ever (so nothing to lose there!). At this point you’re just a step away from getting all that Narendra Modi goodness, so hang in there.
Once you click Sign In, you’re all set (you do have to fill out a form with personal details like your full name, phone number and date of birth among other things before you can proceed any further, although the reason for this is never explained).
The app itself looks like a regular news app. Here’s everything it contains:
Seriously, is there anything that it doesn’t do? I don’t think so. It’s all pretty straightforward from here. Hit News and you’ll get all the latest news about the Prime Minister written by someone named ‘Admin’. It looks like this:
It’s all super simple and straightforward. You tap on the three vertical dots on the top right of the app and jump to the sections you want. The app itself is fast and responsive and everything is pretty zippy with nary a glitch in sight.
The rest of the stuff is basically a Narendra Modi goldmine. Want to read every interview the Prime Minster has given ever since he got elected? Head to Interviews. Want to read his speeches? Head to Speeches. Want to send him a message? Tap on Interact with PM. Guys, this should all be obvious by now. What is interesting are the two tabs titled Mann Ki Baat and To-Do Tasks.
Mann Ki Baat lets you tune in to the Prime Minster’s weekly radio address to the nation — live, and in 30 Indian languages. I don’t have a radio, so I’ve never heard this address before — but now I can!
I first thought that To-Do Tasks was a bonus feature or something — oh, I don’t know, maybe a secret to-do list app buried within the main Narendra Modi app. But no, turns out these are tasks I can complete — reading that ebook about Narendra Modi’s Canada visit, for instance — to earn points. And badges. I can’t wait to get that shiny red ‘The Doer’ badge.
Let that sink in for a moment: there is gamification in an Indian government app. I have a bunch of other apps on my phone that gamify stuff by doling out points and shiny badges for completing tasks. One of them is the Apple Watch Activity app that gives me medals for working out consistently. The other is Amazon’s Goodreads, which does the same thing but for reading books regularly.
When a government app does the same thing Apple and Amazon do in their apps, you know we have arrived as a country. If this isn’t #DigitalIndia, I don’t know what is.
You can easily spend a couple of hours in the Narendra Modi app — it’s basically bursting with information. But don’t worry. Even if you manage to read it all, the app will constantly keep updating. And it will let you know there’s new stuff by pinging you with notifications — which, thankfully, you can adjust in a pretty granular way.
Seriously, when will this app be available for iPhone? I can’t wait.