e-Governance: Mygov – Encouraging Voluntarism in Governance
Intro: Mygov website presents an opportunity to the citizens to both 'Discuss' and 'Do.'This website seems like a good idea but it’s outcomes will depend on the way it is managed in the days to come.
Literally Mygov would mean “my governance,” which can be interpreted as your governance, or a process of governance in which you can voluntarily participate. It is with the aim of encouraging voluntary participation in the government that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Mygov website on July 26, 2014. This is an interactive website that can be reached by pointing the browser to this link: http://mygov.nic.in/home_new.
The aim of the website is to keep lakhs of volunteers who enrolled for the Modi campaign engaged. When you open the website, you see the “Good Governance With Your Partnership” There is a certain registration limit for each day, and by evening the registration limit is usually crossed. So if you want to register yourself at the website, you should start early in the day. There is a YouTube video on the homepage that explains how people can get to collaborate with each other to start projects that contribute towards nation building.
In fact, the website seeks to engage ordinary people as well as experts through the medium of online discussion forums and also provide them avenues for getting actively engaged. For this there are two windows on the home page marked in circles. The first is the “discuss” window and second is the “do” window.
After you have registered yourself, you can go to the “discuss” window to express your thoughts and ideas on the issues that are foremost in your mind. You can start a new discussion or join any ongoing discussion to share ideas, debate and add value. When you click on the “Do” window, you get to know about the projects that are already under execution. You can browse through a number of projects and find a way of making a contribution on the projects that is of interest for you.
Narendra Modi said the initiative intends to keep voters connected with government during the period between elections. It is true that often a big gap opens up when a government assumes office and people's participation ends with voting. An initiative of this kind can be fruitful for encouraging citizens to participate in the process of governance.
As off now, this platform is not intended to serve as a grievance redressal mechanism, it is only a medium encouraging purposeful engagement.
The success that BJP had with its campaign of digital volunteerism during the election season has served as an inspiration Mygov portal. BJP's missed call initiative, conceived by Modi's backroom, has elicited more than 1 crore responses, creating a large base of volunteers whose mobile numbers provided a significant data base. Keeping digital volunteering at the heart of its strategy, Mygov looks to replicate the Modi campaign's success in bringing in people who did not have a political background to work online and on the ground.
The official statement from the PMO says, “The platform presents an opportunity to the citizens to both 'Discuss' and 'Do.' There are multiple theme-based discussions on MyGov where a wide range of people would share their thoughts and ideas.” The PMO statement promises that “Further, any idea shared by a contributor will also be discussed on these discussion forums, allowing constructive feedback and interaction”. “Citizens can volunteer for various tasks and submit their entries. These tasks would then be reviewed by other members and experts. Approved task would earn credit points for completing the task,” adds the statement.
Of course, the website faces the danger that even if few million people start responding there the best ideas could get lost in a welter of useless bytes. So who is going to moderate the debate? Can such a open forum be moderated! This website seems like a good idea but its outcomes will depend on the way it is managed in the days to come. – Anoop Verma