Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched MyGov, an interactive website that seeks to foster participatory governance but which also aims to keep lakhs of volunteers, who enrolled for the Modi campaign, engaged.
The site looks to engage ordinary people as well as experts through a “discuss“ platform while providing for more hands on engagement through a “do“ window.
Modi said the initiative intends to keep voters connected with government during the period between elections. Often a wide gap opens when a government assumes office and people's participation ends with voting. The site hopes to encourage citizens to contribute to governance.
But the platform is not intended to be a grievance redressal mechanism. It is rather an initiative that the government hopes will build purposeful engagement. The initiative also seems intended to provide a contrast to UPA 's dependence on panels like national advisory council and activists academics. Though Congress leader Rahul Gandhi did try to make manifesto writing inclusive, the effort came late in the day for the party.
The success of digital volunteerism through BJP campaign platforms like mission 272 has provided the inspiration for Mygov .nic.in. 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. Since BJP's big win in the Lok Sabha election, party leaders have been trying to figure out how best to keep a large number of non-political people who signed up for Modi, engaged with the party . MyGov serves the Modi government's political and governance objectives as it provides a dynamic feedback on official schemes and pulls in volunteers who could feel utilized and useful.
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.
Interactive elements, like tracking time spent volunteering and “credits“ earned are expected to help beat the ennui that seeps in once the novelty wears off, government managers feel.
An official statement said, “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 ... allowing constructive feedback and interaction... citizens can volunteer for various tasks and submit entries.
These tasks would then be reviewed by other members and experts. Approved task would earn credit points for completing the task,“ says the statement.