20231302 iit indore
Niyati Totala and Neel Kalpeshkumar Parikh from The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore, India, receive the gold medal in the Global Best M-GOV Awards ceremony at WGS 2023 by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Dubai on Monday Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore, India, won Dh1 million by clinching the gold medal at the ‘Global Best M-GOV Awards’ ceremony at the World Government Summit (WGS 2023) in Dubai on Monday. The creators of the ‘Blockbill’ app and other winners received the prestigious awards from Egyptian President Abel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Speaking to Gulf News after winning the award, the gold winners Niyati Totala and Neel Kalpeshkumar Parikh said Blockbill is a blockchain-based receipt generation app providing users with digital receipts for all their transactions.

“There are multiple problems that this app is solving and it is a sustainable solution,” said Totala.

The app helps move away from the production of thermal papers used for printing receipts. “These papers cannot be recycled or disposed of in the normal way and they’re also harmful for your health with continuous contact,” said Parikh.

Digitising receipts

The app also offers data transparency and security as it uses blockchain, she said. “The receipts cannot be altered once made. Once digitised, then organising your receipts and sorting them become easier not just for the vendors, but also for the customers who want to manage personal finances. The businesses can also cut back costs if they move away from thermal paper receipts with our digital product,” Totala explained.

The students, who pursue the disciplines of civil engineering and computer science and engineering, respectively, said another student named Bhoomil Gohel and their mentor Dr Gourinath Banda are also part of the winning team, but could not make it to the awards ceremony.

Asked what they would do with the prize money, Totala said: “We hope to allocate almost all of it for upscaling our product and make it a product that everyone will use.”

The duo became instant stars with several delegates at WGS joining them for taking photos and others congratulating them. Prominent Indian business leader and chairman of the UAE-headquartered Lulu Group, MA Yusuff Ali was among the delegates who offered congratulations to the Indian students.

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Other winners

The silver medal was grabbed by “Don’t Waste,” an initiative of the Inha University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan while the bronze medal went to FARMIT, a project of the University of Belgrade in Serbia. The cash prize for the second place winners is Dh500,000 while the third prize winners get Dh250,000.

The “M-Gov Award” and the “GovTech Award” are annual awards organised by the UAE government as part of the World Government Summit. These awards are designed to encourage pioneering students, researchers, government agencies and institutions, private sector companies and startups to develop innovative solutions using the latest technologies in order to address evolving local and global challenges and explore new opportunities for a better future for humanity.

This year the award was open for students, researchers and graduates including those who are part of the “One Million Coders” Programme.