In order to find out what information the farmers needed, they put up simple wall posters in Tamil, a local language, across two districts in Tamil Nadu. The posters requested rural citizens to call a particular telephone number for any information they might need. Within three months, their call centre received an astounding 10,000 calls. “Most of these queries were on agriculture, banking procedures, jobs etc.,” Saroagi reports. “Farmers specifically wanted information on weather, local market (mandi) prices, commodity rates, and so on.” The next step was to find out how this information could be given out to them. “We found out that most farmers used their mobile phones for calling. The messaging facility was seldom used,” Saroagi adds.

This was a cue. The founders thought that information could be provided through voice in local language. However, the information had to be customised according to the needs of the end user.