Simon Felix talks democracy, electronic governance, and how MiVote can help change the world.
Originally published at Bodahub
Democracy is the brainchild of justice and order, but today’s democracy hardly carries a trace of its “roots” A damaged democracy can only be fixed by itself. That fix begins only when the people start to interact with the system more often. Technology has come a long way and has put a communication device in everybody’s hands. It’s now time for us to cash in on that technology and create a system of eGovernance. Can the app MiVote be of any use?
Social media is a great medium to interact, share, and communicate. It has already served its purpose in bringing distant people a mere chat window away. Concepts have become more communicable when explained through text and multimedia. But Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are only media, and several important discussions and thoughts are lost in digital space after a few likes and rants. A few groups likeChange.org are a good attempt at understanding the psyche and views of the people and translating it into a petition. Though these digital-aided groups help a people raise their voices, their action does not translate into an outcome.
Facebook and Twitter act as a medium in the attempt to address common woes | Chennai Traffic Police
WHERE THE WOES ARISE
Today, as I rode down a chaotic road in Chennai, I had to cross a few cops who were talking to a bike rider. From what little I saw and heard, I could tell they were trying to book him for riding without a helmet. How fair is it that the government not focus on better roads and improving traffic and instead advocate personal safety. I, like many salaried employees have put in a significant part of my earnings into this democratic system in the form of taxes. In return, I am not even asking for the Highway of the Future. Adequate roads based on the city’s traffic are the least I can expect. And adequate roads should pretty much reduce road rage, the necessity to rush, and thus improve overall road safety.
I felt the right to be furious at the false democracy we have. As a citizen, I have worked hard in whichever job I have held, raised an honest family, and have always paid my taxes. I have not submitted false bills – in fact I have even insured medical expenses for my entire family. I have followed the rules and have preached the same to everyone. It does get infuriating when the administration of my country is lazy and laden with corruption. But then, ranting about it isn’t going to do squat; I need to participate. 69 years of voting hasn’t done India much good, it has only changed the face and nationality of the thief that steals my money and the fruits of my hard work. We need something more.
I realise, contribution alone isn’t enough, we need to participate. We need to communicate, constantly. Let creative multimedia explain this in detail,
VOTE RIGHT AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
It isn’t easy to balance regular work and participate actively in communicating our government. Nor does it make sense to behave unconstitutionally in response to a failed democracy – more in another story. An app can enable us to have that connect from the convenience of our already-taxing lives. Everyone has a mobile phone and everyone is now tagged with some sort of unique social id. There are apps being developed across the globe for this purpose.
The Aussies seem to be ahead and have head start in this development. MiVote is an app that allows you to vote on things that matter in a regular manner. The free research organisation – also called MiVote – aims at bringing a change to the Australian democratic system. The app would make sense, only if it determines the policy decisions of the legislature based on the “collective voice of the people.”
TECHNOLOGY FOR DEMOCRACY
The implementation is unarguably an extremely difficult attempt – but what change isn’t? It took at least a century for traffic lights to be effectively implemented. While smart cities aim at bringing in eGovernance or Digital Governance, it would also be a great place to start using a real-time voting app. Smart cities like Vienna, Toronto, New York, and London have considering voting apps for various state elections.
In India, while the smart city project has kicked off, the whole plan for eGovernance is yet to be framed. The estimated cost in India for a comprehensive eGovernance system would be around 10-15% of the overall budget allocated to building the smart city. If we are really going to be smart, this would be the right time to consider, plan and implement, it. The world of politicians could do a little better at making collective and informed decisions – we have tons of grim examples to remind us.
The real-time voting app is a great step in making us an efficient democracy. Perhaps, it is the right step towards a Utopian society.