The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Karishma Chandrapal, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
On 14th March 2015, Business Standard published an article about the website MyGov.in that will be getting some new and different features. The mobile app of the same is also in works.
MyGov.in is the government’s project through which it solicits ideas and inputs from the public on various government policy matters and initiatives. This website was launched by PM Narendra Modi in July,2014. The portal has 800,000 users, 160 discussion themes and is used by 27 ministries. About 50,000 comments are received every week and 60,000 users are added each month. MyGov platform is designed, developed and hosted by National Informatics Centre, Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and IT, Government of India.
“The platform would bridge gap gulf between people and government. Democracy cannot succeed without people’s participation in government,” the Prime Minister said.
The names of some of the marquee programmes of the current government such as the Jan Dhan Yojana and Swachh Bharat came through this portal, along with talk points for the radio discussion between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama.
According to the article published on March 14,2015 by Business Standard:
A mobile application for MyGov is expected to take the platform to more masses. An Android app will be launched first, expected in a month, followed by an iOS and Windows version.
According to officials of the department of electronics and information technology, the new website, the beta version of which is being tested, will have new features such as surveys and polls, along with talks and speeches by important political leaders and bureaucrats.
Gaurav Dwivedi, chief executive of MyGov, said the idea was to make systemic improvements, along with increasing the citizen interaction through new features. “There are more people with mobile phones than computers in the country. That is why we are launching a mobile application,” he added. To take the initiative to the rural masses who might not be well conversant with English, the government is also working on local language and SMS-based solutions. An advertising agency is also in the process of being hired to create more awareness of the platform.
Business Standard had reported last month that the Union government was commissioning a project to analyse public sentiment about its activities on various online platforms. The project will cover state-owned MyGov.in, social media portals such as Facebook and Twitter, and the top 10 news websites. The analysis will also extend to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of government ministries and departments. The Centre expects the platform to be ready in two months.
This would be the first occasion that the Centre is deploying a tool to ‘officially’ listen in on social media conversations and monitor media reports, as well as subsequent public reaction. The idea is also to automate the process of providing a summary of inputs received on MyGov on discussion topics which are forwarded to the government agencies concerned.
The volume of comments received on the platform is making it difficult for the Centre to manually sift through for the most relevant ones, say officials. The government says it would only study posts that are “public” and not build any kind of back-end access into the network of internet companies.
So in my opinion, this website is the great initiative taken by government to involve and encourage the people to participate in sharing of ideas in various government policy matters. And now with new features it will enable public to participate with ease. Also the government is working for its app. Now-a-days majority of people are using smart phones and having internet access in it. And there are more mobile users than computer users. Hence, launching an app will add to its goal of reaching the public and having there inputs. And for those who do not have internet access, new features like SMS based solutions are being thought to include.
I believe, in a democratic country like India, this will surely prove to be beneficial.