Yesterday we found ourselves in a conversation about the Right to Hearing Act. Millions of citizens in the state of Rajasthan, attempting to gain answers to their grievances through the act, are left waiting for want of an open and systemic way of organising, categorizing and dealing with their grievances. It appeared to us that while legislative measures were instituting seemingly powerful channels for access to public services, the channels were in fact broken, because the real challenges lay in its implementation.
Another recent introduction we have made, is with the start-up NextDrop, who have developed a text message based data system that allows water to be supplied more efficiently to households. With the help of local government, NextDrop connects valvemen to engineers and customers. Valvemen measure the level of water in reservoirs every day, and then NextDrop calls them every hour to get information on the levels. NextDrop sends the information to the engineers, who decide which areas should get water at what times, and how much, depending on supply. They then text the valvemen, who in turn text the customers, letting them know exactly when water will be released.
Just reflecting back on the two examples above, we recognize the need for a citizen-centric governance. We have just begun articulating what this might look like, and on first thought envision it to be a coming together of what we have identified as (i) business process reformers, (ii) open data open gov enthusiasts (iii) participatory and inclusive governance activists, to work together towards innovation that is rooted in the ideas of open data, participation, inclusivity, and citizen-centricity.
The study group that we are putting together, every Thursday evening at 5.30 p.m., is so we can reflect on technology that we have access to today, the rising consciousness of Indian citizens and the need for governance and social innovation. Through the group we hope to envision what citizen-centric governance might look like, referring to examples from around the world, including for example, Forum Virium, Helsinki. We also want to work towards the creation of a glossary of terms that will be necessary for a dialogue on citizen-centric governance.
Below are some links we have begun putting together, as resource tools and stimulus to start this conversation. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts as comments, emails and tweets and other ways possible.