As Delhi elections heat up, the fight for who gets to be the CM gets interesting. And what is more interesting is the way this election has been fought; on issues and policies instead of caste and money power. There is a new wave in the political climate at the national level and more so in Delhi where political issues are centered around development and anti-corruption instead of caste and religion as it was a few years ago. This change has been championed by the new class of youth voters who are educated and technology savvy and are willing to take responsibility for their own political choices. Leading this change is a Delhi based startup, Meri Awaaz with a push for issue based politics through technology.
Meri Awaaz is a mobile-first platform that connects citizens with their netas and government officials for open, accessible and accountable governance. Users can use the app to connect with the candidates from their constituency and make an informed decision before they vote. Users can also ask questions and engage in discussions around issues that matter through either an one to one discussion with a candidate or an open discussion for all candidates. The platform provides an engagement solution where citizens can demand answers for their concerns and allows them the opportunity to understand the policies and promises in order to make a better informed choice for their constituency.
Citizens can also test drive candidates to see who is the most sincere in their efforts. They can report civic issues around road, electricity, water, sanitation and public transportation and let candidates take up responsibility of addressing them. Once one or several of the candidates solve the issue, citizens can verify it and and the candidate gets the credit for the work done.
The platform is a complete engagement solution with an easy onboarding solution for the netas and government officials. Citizens can ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ a candidate to show their approval and they can get updates of the candidates that they have followed. Thus, keeping up with the work done by the candidates.
“Our goal is to make it uber convenient for the youth to participate and follow up on political and government related activities and take up responsibility for their own constituencies.”, says Aditya Nayak, founder Meri Awaaz.
The system collates all of this data into a simple to understand report card which includes the candidate information as filed in their affidavits along with the overview of their ‘interactions’ through discussions with their voters and their ‘actions’ of the issues that they claimed responsibility for and get resolved.
Meri Awaaz is a product out of Mutiny Labs, a Delhi based product design startup that builds web and mobile products that challenge the status quo. The journey of meri Awaaz started in mid-2014 with the first version enabling users to report issues through their mobile phones and routing it to the right government department for further action. With this launch, meri Awaaz has evolved into a complete platform that engages all the stakeholders in a democracy and creates a win-win situation for everyone. The model ensures that the hardworking netas get rewarded for their efforts with more votes thus incentivizing development and issues based politics while ensuring that citizens’ issues and concerns are addressed.
These Delhi Elections are a historic milestone towards a new paradigm for Indian democracy. They will mark the start of a ‘Digital Rajneeti’ that will leverage technology to enable more efficient governance systems. This change will be youth led and will be a showcase of how technology and transparency are a lethal force that can balance the efficiencies in governance systems of today and usher in change.
You can download the app at http://bit.ly/meriawaaz or by searching for ‘meri awaaz’ on the play store. You can also connect at http://meriawaazapp.com