Letter from New Delhi
Snazzy new site launched by Indian Prime Minister Modi invites all Indians, including overseas Indians, to discuss India’s problems and do something about them…
After a hearty dinner in Britain or boisterous barbecue in USA, overseas Indians end up discussing their brilliant ideas on how to improve India. Everyone has a pet solution to all the big problems but no one will listen in India. That’s the problem!
So a few end up by writing an open letter to the Prime Minister offering their one-stop cure for all ills afflicting India today. Then they email this gem of their genius to all their friends and relatives and await their feedback to start a free for all online discussion until it fades away.
Now all overseas Indians who want to contribute to India’s governance can directly interact with the powers that be. Just visit www.mygov.nic.in. Instead of a dull, uninviting home page, you will see a bright and vibrant welcome page. Slick design, sparkling colours with minimum text… it looks like a site for teens! Yes, it does and wants to attract and involve them too! The aim is to harness the energy, ideas, proposals and suggestions of the young Indians for nation building. Of course, the oldies can also contribute.
Two huge circles, one in orange and the other in red announce its two main themes: ‘Discuss’ and ‘Do’. Click and start your interaction to watch videos that stimulate, indeed provoke, you and before you exit, you can register with the site for contributing your ideas, suggestions.
Discuss the priorities of the new government – Boost girl child education, Clean India, Clean Ganga, Skilled India, Digital India and Job Creation – and register with any government department. Participants share or express their views, ideas, and thoughts with photos, videos, and documents on policies as well as on matters of national interest and collaborate on key areas of development and governance. Some of the best ideas and suggestions will straightaway reach the Prime Minister of India.
Do the tasks according to your skills interest areas. For a start, there are four groups you can join. This is to ensure a meaningful and effective contribution from every citizen or well-wisher of India in his/her field of interest. For your contribution, you get credit points by posting views on Discussions, Completing Tasks that you volunteer for, and sharing ideas and viewpoints of others on social media. Incentives based on credit points will be announced in the future. Periodically, select volunteers/achievers can get to meet and present their views directly to the Prime Minister of India. There you have it, your direct line to the government and possible the Prime Minister!
At its launch, he said that after a new government, it is believed that a huge chasm exists between the public and the government. The success of a democracy depends on the partnership between the public and the government and this should extend beyond casting the vote. In the past sixty days, the experience of his government was that there were many people who wanted to contribute towards nation-building, and devote their time and energy. The only thing they required was an opportunity to shine and showcase their contribution. The MyGov platform is a technology-driven medium that would provide this opportunity to contribute towards good governance, he said.
He went on, so this technological platform is a great opportunity for all Indians, overseas Indians and supporters of India to participate. More topics can be added and the platform can also be improved with your suggestions. He said he had felt the energy of 1.2 billion Indians and welcomed everyone with open arms to contribute to India’s progress. The objective of each group is to bring about a qualitative change in that sphere through people’s participation, he added.
Later the Prime Minister tweeted, “I am delighted to invite you to join ‘MyGov’ & contribute towards taking India to greater heights of progress.”
Traffic on this site zoomed soon after its launch so much so that it was difficult to access it, according to media reports. Now it remains to be seen how these ideas are processed, translated into action with inputs from the public to take India forward.
For overseas Indians, here is a digital platform to showcase your proposals. “Some of the best ideas and suggestions will straightaway reach the prime minister,” the site promised.
Wake up and smell the chai! Stop cribbing, start contributing!
Kul Bhushan worked as a newspaper Editor in Nairobi for over three decades and now lives in New Delhi
* Published in print edition on 8 August 2014