I think that IAC may be willing to team up with CGOV on the issue of fighting corruption through technology:
there is some evidence technology is also helping sidestep systemic bureaucratic corruption that is often rife in developing countries.
With backhand payments sometimes required for the simplest transactions, direct access to documents and government agencies is frustrating unofficial middlemen.
A government form that's downloadable from an internet kiosk rather than printed out by someone vulnerable to a bribe is a basic example of how open access can fight corruption. [Source]
CGOV should perhaps provide access to various government documents, or at least links to them. Any thoughts on this?
I'd like to invite EVERYONE (from anywhere in the world) to participate in developing a technology model that bridges the distance between the Indian citizen and the government.
Check out cgov.in which is under development, but has been tested and found to work. Right now we are working on the pilot phase, but this is only the beginning.
Let's use technology in the most creative way possible to close the governance gap in India.
Most Western governments across the world are suffering deep distress. They are bleeding because public expectations have sky-rocketed, and they are under relentless pressure to perform.
Indeed, this is happening to most governments – no matter where they are located. Even China. Even Burma. And perhaps even N.Korea.
Traditional media was gentle and kind. Traditional newspapers edited out any virulent "letters to the editor". They blocked opinion editorials that spoke the truth. They always sided with governments. They were often the mouthpiece of government. Their editors partied with governments. Booze flowed.
Therefore, in the past, if you were unhappy with corruption or misgovernance you had MERELY ONE VOTE to express yourself (at best). You were activated once in three/four/five years.
But a vote means little. The accountability achievable through a vote is feeble, even pointless.
But now you are a VOICE.
The voice of the people is rapidly growing into a deafening crescendo.
And governments are simply unable to cope with it.
Any mistake of judgement is punished BADLY in the social media. Jokes/ cartoons spread widely and instantly, undermining any 'dignity' that stupid politicians might have managed to protect in the past.
Till recently traditional media protected and sheltered the useless politicians of this world. But it can't now.
It is game over for politicians – EVERYWHERE.
And for traditional media, which has become increasingly irrelevant.
The social media, the blog sphere, the citizen sphere – is TOTALLY overhwhelming the traditional forms of government – and media.
The genie is out of the box. The people now have a voice.
Here's a nice video to illustrate this point:
Dear Friends, the testing of the android phone has been done.
I'd now like to send out a request for volunteer programmers with php/MySQL skills who could help develop cgov.in further.
Please note that this is a purely voluntary effort to build systems to hold the Indian government/s to account. We aim to empower ANYONE with a mobile phone in India to get their complaint about governance up on the system, and actioned.
We will need thousands of volunteers for various tasks in the future but at this stage technical skills are needed to establish the full system.
Please write to me at sabhlok AT gmail DOT com, or directly join the Google group for this purpose.
The citizens' government concept is developing apace. A LOT of work has been put into the idea.
All software links have been worked out and the system is now very close to the pilot run.
Just a few more days of work left to tighten up the website design.
What the project team now needs is ONE android based smartphone in India with connection to the internet.
The smartphone will then operate SMSSync, an ushahidi plugin that collects SMS texts from an installation of SMSSync app. This app will upload all the SMS received on the phone into the Ushahidi installation, which queues them up for reporting.
If you can spare an unused android based smartphone available – if only for testing – then the cost of piloting this project will come down, else its start up cost could be Rs.10,000+ (including network costs).
Please write to me at sabhlok AT gmail DOT com.
Once the pilot is done, we'll obviously upgrade the whole system. But it would be good if Indians can chip in their time/phone/energy for the pilot.
If you don't have a phone please pass on this request widely to all your contacts.
The initial work on the Citizens' Government of India is now up and running.
Please join in in any form or shape that you can to support and work on making this idea work. The goal: to provide a VOICE to the people of India and to build automated systems to put pressure on the relevant service agencies (including government) to deliver what they have committed to doing.
Some preliminary work has started on developing the Citizens' Government platform.
Please view this document and provide your comments on this blog (assuming you are not interested in being direct member of the relevant google group - which will give you edit access to the document)
This work will evolve as we learn more/ get more ideas. Very soon we'll need thousands of volunteers across India (and the world) to help out. But at this stage, please contribute your thoughts to
a) the platform
b) linking with organisations on the ground
c) marketing, etc.