Surfing to catch up on some late night breaking news, I happened to hit upon an ad for a site called BangaloreTomorrow.com. Interest evoked, I decided to explore what this site was all about.
I came across a bright Flash based map of the Bangalore city on the home page. The map was interactive and allowed people to complain, suggest, praise, reminisce and mull over various aspects of civic life in their part of the city. Each kind of activity was denoted by an appropriate flashy icon on the map. Subsequent users could 'Vote-for' or 'Vote-against' the aspect put forth.
I was really surprised by the amount of active participation the site was registering. A TimesNOW news channel venture, the model aims at using the clout of the channel to get each citizen's voice across to the government. The amount of trust the public reposes in such ventures also gets enhanced by the fact that it is a private enterprise.
The site also has a people talk feature that captures feelings of celebrity Bangloreans on video and what they feel about the city that has been their home for years. A very absorbing section, I must confess, given luminaries like Arundati Nag (wife of late Kannada film actor Shankar Nag, Dr. Devi Shetty, renowned cardiologist, etc.
There is also an SMS feature that allows you to send your say via SMS.
It is sites like these that harness the networking power of the Internet to boost citizen participation and provide a platform for netizens to voice their say on matters that would help speed up e-governance imlementation in India. I hope that the model gets replicated across states in India..
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