People Power

Posted on January 9, 2014

We know everyone, in the public, now wants to take part in governance. It has gone to the peak in the previous months. This is a good time to make people understand that they can be a part of their own governance by not even being a part of a government office. Here is an idea I’ve been thinking and trying to implement over the past few months. The end result of this idea’s course would be better decision making — by the public, by voting better, and the officials, by taking better decisions.

Lately, the winning of Aam Admi Party and Arvind Kejriwal got so much flux of people who want to change the system of governance, and most importantly to be a part of it. The winning of Mr. Kejriwal can be widely debated, though. The flux of people interested in participating in the system of governance tells us that this is the tipping point to have a platform to allow the public to involve in active decision making.

Debate. Discussions are the best way to come to take better decisions. That is what Mr. Kejriwal also stressed on during his campaign. He brought the idea of conducting town hall meetings to the general public in India. People were looking to take part in a ‘greater’ cause. To be part of the ‘extensively corrupted system,’ as described by Mr. Kejriwal, and wash away the corruption. Is that enough? It’s good to start with. But, can so many people joining a political party create a change? Being either a volunteer or a party member can do no direct change in the so-called broken system.

A platform which allows people to engage in discussions involving local problems and scoring the end result of the decision, I feel is necessary. I believe this will result and will have greater affect in governance, than to be a part of governance, as it can involve more amount of people. Which in take will allow wider opinions and more ideas.

Discussions

Coming back to discussions. I found that we need a wide platform to discuss our problems. The intelligence of a hundred in a problematic situation could be greater than a few people who are not, and are yet commissioned to make a decision on that problem. Not only that, such a gathering for discussion can be held to define an existing problem clearly. The power of discussions are a great way for people to express their power.

Receiving feedback for anything is important. Be it designing a software, learning how to cook and, even, governance. Feedback to what one is doing can drastically improve his or her productivity. Improving over the feedback and receiving more is the key. This ensures that in the end the work done shall be fruitful.

Therefore, giving feedback to our officials is crucial for better functioning of our government system and for the well being of the people. There is a lack of such a mechanism. To interact with officers has been a pain. We need a system which will shorten this gap. Discussions are a great way to bridge this gap.

Localising issues

Creating a platform for all people to discuss local issues is needed at this point. Local issues fade away so easily that until when needed to seriously address again, they are not talked about. Discussions at local level are very much needed. A local level, here, could be a community or a small region.

Localising of addressing problems and governance is a great way of distributing work. This helps in getting the work done faster and efficiently.

Local community problems and issues are to be addressed by the people concerned to it. Regional problems are addressed by the people who fall in that region. A national issue shall be addressed by the whole nation which concerns the issue. The power of localising discussion of issues is higher than unlocalised manner of discussions.

Scoring Officials

Several times there exists such a case that the official was able to do his or her work perfectly. There is a need to bring such hard working and enthusiastic officers forward, to respect them and to allow them to serve better. There are several other instances where an official hasn’t worked up to the expectations. Such officers should be given constructive feedback on where there had been holes, and shall be given another chance. But, if he or she is not able to deliver most of the times, he or she should be made to understand that they have failed to work as hard.

We score students by making them attend tests. This is a feedback of their progress in learning. This is crucial to understand the capacity of the student. Such a platform have already been devised for restaurants and other services. Why not do the same for public officials? The power of scoring shall be used effectively then. All for the well being of the people.

We need a platform to score officials, of every work they do. This helps in recording their progress. This allows electors make better decisions and higher officials understand the capacity of the officer scored. Scoring officials is a practice to increase the much needed accountability.

Public officials shall be scored by the public and the score shall be available to the public. As they work for the well being of the public, the public has the right to know their progress and freedom to maintain a record of their progress. To respect transparency and openness in the system the identity of the person scoring shall also be available to the public.

Internet

The internet reaches deep and wide in this world. It can be harnessed to bring together all the above powers for the well being of the people and to engage the public in the process of decision making in governance. The power of the internet shall be harnessed for joining all the above powers.


A platform, which will join all the above powers, created in the manner detailed above shall be the next big thing to organise and allow participation of the people in governance, openly for a better tomorrow.

I’ve been working on such a platform at avarld. I believe this experiment has far and wide uses and is necessary at this moment. If implemented right, it can change the way democracy works. This could allow principles of participatory democracy inside representative democracy.


Originally Published in All About India on Medium