Harmanjot Singh, 14 year old student who has been conferred with the prestigious Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Shakti Puraskar Award 2021 under Innovation Category, the highest national civilian honor for children. He is also a Certified Full Stack Developer, Olympiad Gold Medallist and Young Member of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Debleena Bhattacharya, Associate Editor, interviews him about his inspirational journey to become the young innovator and his future plan
1. Congratulations for being awarded the young innovator under Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2021. Enlighten us about your innovation.
My heartfelt gratitude for the wishes. I was awarded the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Shakti Puraskar 2021 under Innovation category. The Raksha Women Safety App is made to ensure the safety of women. I have developed this app leaving no stone unturned to make the world a much safer place for women to work and live with utmost safety and no fear. An inspiration and idea came from my mother because she is also a working medical professional. At the same time we witness unpleasant incidents on females daily, which ignited my mind to develop this app.
The application has a SOS Alert screen which comes with a special feature to call the police and other emergency women helplines instantly by clicking on the button.
2. How does the app: RAKSHA-The Women Safety cater to the safety of the women during Pandemic and normal days?
The RAKSHA-Women Safety App caters to the safety of women through its SOS Emergency features mainly. The application has a SOS Alert screen which comes with a special feature to call the police and other emergency women helplines instantly by clicking on the button. Also, in case of any unsafe situation, tapping the message button raises an emergency SOS alert to the trusted contact selected by you. The SOS alert is in the form of SMS informing that you are unsafe and need help. Along-with, we can see nearby police stations on a Google Map based on the current GPS location with a feature to call them as well as get the directions. The app has a novel AI enabled ChatBot that can assist the user on how to use the application, at the same time providing valuable guidance in difficult situations. Apart from emergency features, it has valuable safety tips that every woman should know, informative tips with images to escape threat and be aware of the unpleasant circumstances, various purposeful self-defense videos and images which can guide and help women to learn self-defense and information regarding various laws to penalize the culprit for the offences against women.
3. Developing apps at such a tender age. Tell us a little about yourself and your family. Where do you come from? How did you learn about it?
I am a learner by passion, grade 9 student from Jammu. I am passionate and enthusiastic about applying computer programming in STEM education. I have won numerous medallions at International/ National/ Zonal level in Olympiads. My best friends are Computers, Physics and Maths. Besides this, I am an ardent fan of F1 Racing and Mobile Robotics. I love debating, quizzing and doing MUNs. We are a lovely family of 3 members, myself and my parents. My father’s name is Dr. Harvinder Singh, a prosthodontist working as Director Academics in the Institute of Dental Sciences, Jammu. My mother’s name is Dr. Mandeep Kaur who is a practising dental surgeon. My interest in the field of STEM can be traced back to my earlier school days when I was just 7. I remember it was my birthday when my uncle gifted me a desktop computer. My fascination with computers began at that moment. In the same year our school organized a science fair where I was supposed to make a project on a windmill and eventually it really came out very well and I won the prize. Here I got to know how physics is involved in our daily life which developed my interest in science (a subject full of interesting questions, fascinations, reasoning etc).
This motivated me a lot and henceforth slowly and steadily, I became very inquisitive to learn new skills in the field of science and technology. I am always keen to participate in exhibitions, science fairs, competitive exams to test my knowledge to maximum and I am really enjoying them as it gives me an immense pleasure receiving accolades. This passion and curiosity to learn was boosted up even more when I achieved International Rank 1 in Cyber Olympiad. Hence, I started learning high level programming languages from online platforms and tutorials especially during the corona lockdown and then developed the Raksha-Women Safety App to ensure the safety of women
4. What has motivated you to develop the app and who all have supported you?
In our daily lives, we come to know through newspapers, social media and television about various problems people have to suffer. I feel empathetic about core problems of our society and wish to find solutions by applying technology. This motivated me to develop the app for a social cause. My family and school have been very supportive and always motivated me to participate in various competitions and enhance my knowledge. My parents always stood as a strong pillar beside me, especially my mother, Dr. Mandeep Kaur, for shaping my thoughts with her vital inputs and constant support. I am grateful to all of them.
Calmify Mental Healthcare App which will surely help people to cope with stress in a healthy way.
5. Please let us know about other two apps Calmify dealing with mental healthcare and CyberBuddy developed by you ?
Emotional and mental health is important as it encompasses our psychological, emotional and social wellbeing. It plays a crucial role in the health of our relationships and allows one to adapt to changes in our life and cope with adversity. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Considering this quintessential, I developed Calmify Mental Healthcare App which will surely help people to cope with stress in a healthy way.
Cyber bullying is a growing social problem that has become all- too common in online communities. In fact, research indicates that one in five teens have been cyber bullied. Even in the midst of the covid 19 pandemic, cyber bullying is continuing to escalate. The more time children spend online or interacting with their phones, the more necessary tech monitoring becomes. Considering this as the need of the hour, I developed CyberBuddy-Anti Cyber Bullying App which will surely help people to cope up with their cyber bullying experiences and teach them how to use technology safely and responsibly. This will benefit them in the long run.
6. What message do you want to convey to your generation and those who aspire to achieve the feats that you have done.
The message I would like to convey is that when we believe in our goals, that what we dream of can become reality, results will begin to follow. As it is said, “Thinking is the capital, Enterprise is the way, Hardwork is the solution. My motto is ‘Living is Learning Everyday’.
7. What are your future plans and where do you see yourself down the lane?
As I am a keen STEM Enthusiast, my ambition is to become a computer scientist with vision for all and hopefully serve our country on a global platform. I am really determined to focus myself on STEM and put my best efforts to achieve my goals as there is no alternative to effort and hardwork. My aim in life is “Learn and Grow”.