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Enabling citizen participation in Governance

During the period Oct’15 – Feb’16, as part of community project, a demonstrable solution was developed that can help in enabling citizen participation in Governance.

Background

Idea conceptualization happened in the background of current problem of common citizens feeling helpless and frustrated as there is no platform for reporting of problems / grievances related to city / town infrastructure (Road, Water, Sewage, transport, Sanitation, Electricity etc).

Currently, it requires significant effort for citizens to figure out what, where, how, when, where of reproting of even small feedbacks. This ultimately leads to citizen feeling helpless and cursing the government not doing its bit.

Even though Government may be doing its bit, but the focus and priority may not be aligned with citizens’ needs. Also, the government system is still paper based application processing, that lacks use of any technology for such problems.

Vision

Vision of the solution (titled Smart City Infra (Grievance) Reporting involved:

  1. Citizen participation in Governance (through Technology)
  2. Effort reduction and productivity enhancement
  3. Green concept implementation (avoid wastage of paper, effort)
  4. Priority of government works aligned with citizen (and hence Participation of Citizens in Governance)
  5. Long term research and resolutions by capturing data points

Goals & Aims

Project was run with following aims:

  1. Ease and TA citizen should be able to report infra problem within 10 seconds of starting up System’s mobile
    application. That way citizen responsibility of reporting problem is handled instantly.
  2. System should be able to showcase problems being reported by citizen for a vicinity on a map
  3. System should be able to consolidate and report problems to related Government Agency on
    periodic basis by using Geo-Fence definition approach. It should be able to visualize problems
    Geo-density and severity on a map.
  4. System should be able to provide trend data of problems reported for a given Geo location to
    general public for research purpose

Concept Diagram

PictureSCIR_v1

 

Top level system consist of a mobile application (front-end) and a hosted web server based backend
system with 5 major components.

  1. Scalable front-end system for interfacing with mobile app (and extensions): Stores content in a
    backend database (will flat content / no-sql help in scaling up? Data should be scalable / spreadable
    across servers scalable as per geo contents)
  2. Web services sub-system for providing data for public usage
  3. GIS map based Web interface for providing visual interpretation of reported contents
  4.  Reporting engine
    1. For regular problem reporting (processes GIS data) at government and municipal
      agencies consumption.
    2.  [Optional] Problem aggregation and reporting engine for usage of Non-profit
      organizations like RWA Maintenance agencies etc. This doesn’t include ticket flow
      system as per current need, but can be customized to report problems to any such kind
      of system in an open interface basis.

Technologies Used

Various technologies that enable such a solution involve:

  1. Mobile Application
  2. GPS tagging
  3. GIS / GeoLocation
  4. Big Data
  5. Cloud based technologies

Attainments

Attainments of such a system include:

  • Participation of all citizens : Utiilization of visual technologies can lead to any citizen (whether educated or not) being able to use the reporting system
  • Digital India : Paper based applications are converted into digital data
  • Smart Cities : Grievance / Problems reported by citizens are captured for having impcat on short term as well as mid to long term impacts on actions by local Governments
  • Single Platform for all Departments : There’s no need to have a separate mobile interface for all departments, a single interface should be able to do it.

 

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