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Ushering in Participative Governance

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Gaurav Dwivedi

Gaurav Dwivedi
CEO, MyGov, DeitY,
Government of India

‘MyGov’ initiative helps citizens connect and share their ideas with various ministries and departments, says Gaurav Dwivedi in conversation with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN)

Tell us about the importance of the portal like ‘MyGov’.

MyGov is a platform aimed at facilitating a dialogue between citizens and government — bringing citizens closer to the government and bringing the government closer to the citizens it serves. I n d i a ’ s governance landscape has been u n dergoing  a radical transformation with adoption of technology to improve transparency and efficiency. MyGov adds a new dimension to this transformation. Taking a bird’s eye view now, you would unfailingly notice a level of IT maturity on the part of the government, gradually bringing all citizen services to digital media and digital empowerment of the citizens through e-enabled services. The dots are getting connected and MyGov is conceptualised and implemented at the right time to leverage this ‘coming together’ of people, processes and technology.
MyGov is a first-of-a-kind platform in India, and among the first few globally, to help the government get feedback on its decisions, get first-hand validation, make immediate changes and roll out services as desired by the ultimate beneficiaries, i.e. the citizens. This is participative governance in its true form.

Do you think myGov will drastically change the scenario of people’s participation in governance process?

Hasn’t it already? MyGov is already catering to almost 6 lakh users, without incurring any advertising expenditure, and is increasing continuously. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s support has given us a massive head-start. MyGov has already crossed 100 different topics of discussions, tasks and contests, participated by citizens from all corners of the country and abroad. We have received numerous papers authored by experts on a wide array of topics ranging from Clean Ganga, Digital India and Swachch Bharat, among others, along with lakhs of comments and recommendations from citizens, which we have duly forwarded to the concerned departments for analysis and necessary action. All citizen posts relevant to the discussions are being scanned and forwarded to the relevant departments.

Please elaborate on the key aspects of MyGov.

Key aspects of MyGov include:

  • Discuss – To discuss and deliberate on various topical/cause-based groups such as Swachah Bharat, Digital India, Caring for Specially-abled etc.
  • Do – To do tasks (both online and onground) and collaborate on key areas of development and governance.
  • Disseminate – For the Government to reciprocate on the ideas, topics, suggestions etc., received from citizens and inform citizens on the follow-up action.
  • Creative Corner – To facilitate ministries to organise various contests for crowdsourcing creative ideas, such as logo designs and taglines. To mention a few, the logos and taglines / slogans of Swachah Bharat and Pradhaan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna have been crowd-sourced through MyGov.
  • The Open Forum is a platform where citizens can share views on issues of national importance such as Prime Minister’s upcoming visit to Australia, Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, etc.
  • The Prime Minister himself has welcomed ideas from MyGov for his radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and acknowledged the names of the contributors of some of the ideas in his address.

How the e-Governance process has transformed India in the last a few years and what more needs to be done for bringing transparency in the system and for better delivery of government services?

Huge IT infrastructure has been created in the last few years, with many services rolled out. Many departments have streamlined their internal service delivery functions and have benefitted from the power of ICT tools and technology. Many more initiatives are on the anvil in Digital India and e-Kranti. MyGov is one such innovation bringing transparency and participation in the system.
We need to continuously upgrade digital infrastructure and create citizen awareness about eGovernance initiatives. By connecting every citizen with a better digital infrastructure, we can improve the delivery mechanism.

How use of social media can be leveraged for better service delivery?

Social media has ushered in the era of citizengenerated sentiment and content, and has emerged as a cost-effective channel for government departments to extend their outreach. A number of government departments have led the way, most notable being the police in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, and municipal corporations of the country’s many Tier-I cities that are extending their functions on social media. In view of the social media and citizen engagement frameworks issued by the government, and with MyGov now leading the way, use of social media for governance is here to stay.

What are the challenges to spread of e-Governance in the country?

e-Governance today faces several challenges:
1. Infrastructural: To develop and extend ICT infrastructure to all 2.5 lakh panchayats and continuously upgrade the speed and reliability of networks.
2. Human: To leverage internet, especially through mobile devices for digital literacy, and factoring in and managing user expectations.
3. Administrative will: Need for government executives to view e-Governance as an enabler not as a threat for their position and power.
4. Organisational: Need for organisational skills and effective communication to maintain the visions and values of all the stakeholders in an e-Government initiative. Each of these issues is interlinked. Success in maximising e-governance will depend on the combination of all these factors.

“Key aspects of MyGov are ‘Discuss’, ‘Do’, ‘Disseminate’ and creative corner that ensures rich participation from citizens on different aspects touching their lives on a day to day basis”

How m-Governance can transform the entire system in India?

m-Governance is not only the extension of e-Governance solution to mobile devices but also using the mobile devices for effective delivery of government services. With an estimated 96.5 percent mobile penetration, mobile technology is the future of service delivery in the country. In spite of the great progress made in the Mobile Seva initiative, I believe m-Governance is still at a nascent stage with a huge opportunity ahead of us to provide services and information to citizens.
A recent example of its effective usage is disaster management activity by Odisha and Andhra governments. SMS alert for the cyclone ‘Hudhud’ was delivered to every citizen of the state and hence helped in mitigating the incidents of disaster. Similarly, farmers get alerts and information on crop rates in Mandi, weather information and use fertilisers and pesticides.
Mobile-governance will bring the power literally in the hands of the citizens enabling them to become a part of the governance mechanism.

How much important is the ‘Digital India’ programme?

Digital India programme has been conceived as the backbone of all ICT-related initiatives in the country. It will act as an umbrella programme covering nine broad categories:
1. Broadband Highways
2. Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity
3. Public Internet Access Programmes
4. e-Governance: Reforming Government
through Technology
5. e-Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services
6. Information for All
7. Electronics Manufacturing
8. IT for Jobs
9. Early Harvest Programmes

The vision of the programme is focused on three key ideas:

  • Creation of Digital Infrastructure and Electronic Manufacturing in India
  • Delivery of all Government Services electronically (e-Governance)
  • Digital Empowerment of Indian Citizens Digital India programme in true sense defines a holistic approach towards making India a selfsufficient and digitally-empowered knowledge economy.

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