On Saturday, July 26, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched MyGov – a web portal that aims at inclusive governance allowing the citizens of India to contribute their views on issues that require government action and to volunteer their time, energy, and efforts by participating in these. The inauguration of the portal also marked the completion of 60 days of the NDA-headed government. The Prime Minister in his statement at the launch said that in the two months he had learned that the people of the nation are willing to contribute much towards nation-building and that the website would provide these people a platform to voice their opinions. The launch of MyGov took place in the presence of the central IT and Communications Minister, Mr. RS Prasad, the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Ajit Seth, and the Secretary of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), Mr. RS Sharma.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi distinguished himself by his significant use of technology in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections 2014. Harnessing the phenomenal power of Social Media and crowdsourcing, Mr. Modi succeeded in crafting out a majorvictory for the NDA. Soon after taking over the PM’s Office, he laid out clear instructions for his cabinet and the ministers to get on Social Media platforms to be able to listen to the people and their take on issues. MyGov is another major attempt at including the sentiments of the people in NaMo’s version of good governance – surajya. On the occasion of the portal’s launch the Prime Minister said, “I am confident that people of my nation will welcome this initiative and this mission will succeed as strength and capability of 125 crore Indians is enormous.”
MyGov is currently available in both Hindi and English. The website has been put together by DEITY and the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The two organizations together shall also be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the portal. According to R.S. Sharma, the Secretary of the DEITY, the NaMo administration intends to take MyGov further by allowing citizens to access the discussion forums through a mobile app that is currently under development.
MyGov is a platform that allows citizens to both Discuss and Do. Currently there are 6 groups on the site – ‘Clean Ganga’, ‘Clean India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Girl Child Education’, ‘Job Creation’ and ‘Skilled India’. Each of these groups has tasks that may be undertaken online or on ground. These tasks can be completed by contributors and reviewed by other users and by experts, thereby allowing for interaction, viewpoints, and feedback. Site users add and upload pictures, videos, documents, and work plans related to the tasks. Users shall soon be awarded points on the completion of the tasks they undertake and the most active contributors shall be given a chance to meet the PM.
MyGov has been largely welcomed by the media and by the people. The site, however, seems to have run into some teething problems. On the morning of July 27, people trying to register on the portal received the message that the daily limit had been crossed. Registration still seems to be a cumbersome process and the password requires several conditions. Given the PM’s Social Media emphasis, the site could have allowed registration through an existing Facebook or Twitter account. None of these, however, are major hitches that cannot be sorted by the site administrators.
E-governance has become an increasingly important aspect of democracies the world over. While in India e-governance efforts have been limited and the focus sporadic. Given this, the efforts of the NDA government to form an inclusive administration are certainly worth appreciation. In his tweet, the PM said, “A democracy can’t succeed without people’s participation. ‘MyGov’ empowers the people of India to contribute towards Surajya”. Apart from MyGov, the Government of India also launched an online public grievance forum at PGPortal. It stands to reason, however, that the success or failure of these two sites shall be the subject of much scrutiny in the months to come.
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