Government 2.0

The Story of Creation of the Digital Village that defied the Cash ban #Demonitisation

Believing in Technology as enabler of Development is one thing. Being able to implement a vision and see it emerge right is surreal. Demonitisation and the subsequent cash crunch has led to increased focus on digital payments that has now catapulted this Akodara village once again into limelight.

It was in two years ago in the early winter of 2014 representatives from ICICI Bank discussed about ideas on making a village cashless village using digital modes. Sabarkantha was emerging as a model district in the country for using digital technologies in Rural development. As the District Development Officer of Sabarkantha District  of Gujarat i floated the idea of making it digital all around touching Anganwadi, WiFi in Village, cyber cafe etc. Everyone got excited on the possibilities of creating a model village of the future.

Over a period of next two months the idea took shape with frequent visit by bank officials with all local support rendered by Himatnagar Taluka Panchayat team and the Sabarkantha District Panchayat. Everyone contributed their might. The Director of District Rural Development Agency Ms.Bhargavi Dave, Taluka Development Officer Mr.Ganshyam Prajapati and team looked into other development needs of the village and facilitation. The District Panchayat team made arrangements to deploy WiFi tower and connectivity to this unconnected village within a week. ICICI Bank brought in systems for cashless payments, e-Education in school, Skill training for youth, elearning tools for Anganwadi, eHealth centre etc.

akodara sarpanch

Sarpanch, Akodara Village Smt.Tharaben being felicitated by Hon. PM Narendra Modi during inauguration fo Digital Village.

Everyone involved in this were driven by the vision to do something that belongs to the future. The Bank wanted to give a product to a community that needs it the most took the risk of being ahead of time. The district officials and staff who believed that this will add value to the lives of the village went beyond their call of duty to make atleast one village a benchmark in digital ways. The Sarpanch (Smt. Tharaben) took a big political risk of prodding her voters to a newer way of thinking and digital living in the hope that they will realize that its better for them in the long run, just like what Hon. PM Modi is trying through demonitisation.

M.Nagarajan IAS being felicitated for creating Digital Village by Hon. PM Narendra Modi

M.Nagarajan IAS (author) , District Development Officer, Sabarkantha is being felicitated for creating Digital Village by Hon. PM Narendra Modi

When a cutting edge work happens somewhere a set of people are taking risks in the hopes of creating something better than what it is today. It doesnt matter if the outcomes are achieved or not, because after it is done everyone comes out a bit better than what they were when it started. There is no guarantee that we can create the future we want, but somebody’s got to try.

P.S.

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Aadhaar Card Gets Legal Backing to Enforce Mandatory Usage!

The movement to fully legalize Aadhaar usage has now reached its crescendo, as Govt. notified all but one provision of the Aadhaar Bill (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services). In layman terms, this means that Aadhaar Card has now legal backing, and the Govt. of India can (and will) impose its usage forcefully, across every Govt. scheme.

The only exception to the mandatory usage of Aadhaar card is the issue of privacy, based on which Supreme Court has still stop its usage. But privacy is a subjective matter, and there are tons of legal loopholes to make this issue a minor one.

Source: Aadhaar Card Gets Legal Backing to Enforce Mandatory Usage!

How civic intelligence can teach what it means to be a citizen

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

Douglas Schuler, Evergreen State College

Civic Intelligence converts the real value of peoples preferences and will into formal structure of democracy. It is the real energy that activates the democratic process. – Govpreneur

This political season, citizens will be determining who will represent them in the government. This, of course, includes deciding who will be the next president, but also who will serve in thousands of less prominent positions.

But is voting the only job of a citizen? And if there are others, what are they? Who decides who will do the other jobs – and how they should be done?

The concept of “civic intelligence” tries to address such questions.

I’ve been researching and teaching the concept of “civic intelligence” for over 15 years. Civic intelligence can help us understand how decisions in democratic societies are made now and, more importantly, how they could be made in the future.

For example, my students and I used civic intelligence as the focus for comparing colleges and universities. We wanted to see how well schools helped educate their students for civic engagement and social innovation and how well the schools themselves supported this work within the broader community.

My students also practiced civic intelligence, as the best way of learning it is through “real world” projects such as developing a community garden at a high school for incarcerated youth.

So what is civic intelligence? And why does it matter?

Understanding civic intelligence

Civic intelligence describes what happens when people work together to address problems efficiently and equitably. It’s a wide-ranging concept that shows how positive change happens. It can be applied anywhere – from the local to the global – and could take many forms.

For example, civic intelligence was seen in practice when representatives of the world’s governments created and unanimously approved a global action plan last year in Paris. While climate change remains an immense threat, this global cooperation involving years of dedicated debate and discussion produced a common framework for action for worldwide reduction of greenhouse gases.

Civic intelligence describes when people work together to address problems.
Takver, CC BY-SA

Another example is that of mayors around the world establishing networks such as the Global Parliament of Mayors to bring elected officials together on a regular basis to discuss issues facing cities, such as housing, transportation and air quality. One of these networks, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, was launched when representatives of the world’s 40 largest cities wanted to collaborate to address climate change.

Similarly, millions of researchers, teachers, artists, other individuals and NGOs worldwide are working to improve their cities and communities. These efforts are amazingly diverse.

In one such case, groups of church members and others from the community in Olympia, Washington, worked for several years with homeless people and families to develop affordable housing solutions. And in Brooklyn, a group of young people started an experimental School of the Future to develop their ideas on what schools could or should be.

What’s the history?

The term “civic intelligence” was first used in English in 1898 by an American clergyman Josiah Strong in his book “The Twentieth Century City” when he wrote of a “dawning social self-consciousness.”

Untold numbers of people have been thinking and practicing civic intelligence without using the term. A brief look at some notable efforts reveals some historic approaches to its broader vision. Let’s take a few:

Laurie Chipps, CC BY-ND
  • John Dewey, the prominent social scientist, educator and public intellectual, was absorbed for much of his long professional life with understanding how people pool their knowledge to address the issues facing them.
  • The American activist and reformer Jane Addams, who in 1889 cofounded the Hull House in Chicago, which housed recent immigrants from Europe, pioneered scores of civically intelligent efforts. These included free lectures on current events, Chicago’s first public playground and a wide range of cultural, political and community research activities.

Civic intelligence today

There are more contemporary approaches as well. These include:

  • Sociologist Xavier de Souza Briggs’ research on how people from around the world have integrated the efforts of civil society, grassroots organizations and government to create sustainable communities.
  • With a slightly different lens, researcher Jason Corburn has examined how “ordinary” people in economically underprivileged neighborhoods have used “Street Science” to understand and reduce disease and environmental degradation in their communities.
  • Elinor Ostrom, recently awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, has studied how groups of people from various times and places managed resources such as fishing grounds, woodlots and pastures by working together collectively to preserve the livelihoods’ sources for future generations.

Making use of civic intelligence

Civic intelligence is generally an attribute of groups. It’s a collective capability to think and work together.

Advocates and practitioners of civic intelligence (as well as many others) note that the risks of the 21st century, which include climate change, environmental destruction and overpopulation, are quantitatively and qualitatively unlike the risks of prior times. They hypothesize that these risks are unlikely to be addressed satisfactorily by government and other leaders without substantial citizen engagement.

Civic intelligence reminds us that citizens assume responsibility.
Gonzale, CC BY-NC

They argue that with or without formal invitations, the citizen must assume more responsibility for the state of the world, especially since in some cases the leaders themselves are part of the problem.

“Ordinary” people could bring many civic skills to the public sphere, such as innovation, compassion and heroism that are indispensable to the decision-making processes.

That is what brought about changes such as human rights, overturning slavery and the environmental movement. These were initiated not by businesses or governments, but by ordinary people.

Twenty-first century civics

The civics classes that are required in the public schools mostly focus on conventional political processes. They might teach about governance in a more conventional way, such as how many senators there are (100) or how long their terms are (six years). But self-governance needs more than that.

At a basic level, “governance” happens when neighborhood groups, nonprofit organizations or a few friends come together to help address a shared concern.

Their work can take many forms, including writing, developing websites, organizing events or demonstrations, petitioning, starting organizations and, even, performing tasks that are usually thought of as “jobs for the government.”

And sometimes “governance” could even mean breaking some rules, possibly leading to far-reaching reforms. For example, without civil disobedience, the U.S. might still be a British colony. And African-Americans might still be forced to ride in the back of the bus.

As a discipline, civic intelligence provides a broad focus that incorporates ideas and findings from many fields of study. It involves people from all walks of life, different cultures and circumstances.

A focus on civic intelligence could lead directly to social engagement. I believe understanding civic intelligence could help address the challenges we must face today and tomorrow.

The Conversation

Douglas Schuler, Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Evergreen State College

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
The Conversation

Superpublic – Innovation Space for Goverment Academia and Industry

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

superpublic logo

SUPERPUBLIC is an Innovation Lab and collaborative space in San francisco city where federal, state, and city government come together with academia and the private sector to address policy and regulatory issues.

SUPERPUBLIC is the USA’s first collaborative workspace and Innovation Lab to provide a neutral space where the private sector, the public sector, nonprofits, and academia can come together and work to solve urban problems.

SUPERPUBLIC’s founding team includes the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, City Innovate Foundation, and General Services Administration, and UC Berkeley.  Additional partners in this effort include the Center for Design Research at Stanford University and MIT Media Lab.

The goal of SUPERPUBLIC is to do work that benefits a network of 100 inclusive metros. This network consists of cities, state, regional, and federal government officials committed to work together to solve urban problems, share best practices, and build capacity to test, learn, and pilot emerging technologies.

Focus areas:

  • Digital Services in Government
  • Urban Mobility
  • Changing Models for Procurement

The Concept of Superpublic originated  from France  where innovation teams from several French regions and government agencies work together.

  • Superpublic is the first space ever entirely devoted to innovation in the public sector.
  • To reinvent the way in which public policy is designed and implemented, free zones where it’s possible and encouraged to think out of the box are needed – open and neutral resource spaces with the capacity to reunite outstanding capabilities in public innovation. That’s what Superpublic is all about.
  • Covering an area of 300 square meters, Superpublic is designed and equipped to conduct creative design workshops, develop prototypes for innovating projects, organize encounters, set up specialized training sessions and share resources and workspace in a collaborative approach.
  • A space for co-working
  • Superpublic welcomes, on a full-time basis, both public and private structures that devote their activity to public innovation.
  • Superpublic’s purpose is to allow all disciplines, capabilities and public and private structures involved in transforming public policy to meet with each other and to interact.

Get Narendra Modi Official Android App and connect with him personally

narendramodi android app

Do you like to follow what our PM Narendra Modi is doing more closely. Get the Official App of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. It brings to you latest information, instant updates & helps you contribute towards various tasks. It provides a unique opportunity to receive messages and emails directly from the Prime Minister.

Here is an intro video on the app.

Highlights of the Narendra Modi Android app:

• Receive the latest news and updates
• Exclusive opportunity to receive E-Mails & Messages directly from the PM.
• ‘Mann Ki Baat’ with the PM.
• Small Tasks, Big Satisfaction: Contribute & earn Badges through to-do tasks.
• Your chance to Interact with the PM & share Ideas & Suggestions.
• Never miss out thoughts from PM Modi, read his Blogs.
• Know more about PM Narendra Modi through unique insights in the Biography section.
• Read about PM Modi’s Governance initiatives & achievements.
• Learn more about PM Modi’s efforts augmenting India’s Global Recognition.
• Know about how Good Governance is improving lives through Infographics.

The app was launched on 16 June 2015 and within three days it has got fabulous reviews almost touching 5 stars. Nearly 6000 people have rated the app and most of the reviews are positive and highly appreciative.

narendramodi app reviews 19 june 2015

Since its the first time any leader in India is using technology to reach out and connect to citizens the app is being welcomed by all.

WordPress in Government – SWOT Analysis and Strategies –[video]

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

The past month has been very busy for me with Republic Day celebrations. But it was also special because i had a chance to present my ideas on WordPress in Government to a big group of WordPress movers and shakers who got together at WordCamp Baroda. It was a great experience to connect with WP guys and gals and discuss about the software the web loves. I also met Harsh Agrawal of ShoutMeLoud whose blog has been a great resource for me over the years.

WordPress can help you make a change, create an impact no matter wherever you are, whatever you do. It empowers you to make a change. In the Goverment sector there is a lot of unexplored potential for WordPress. I have been using WordPress personally for many years now. There were some new and interesting projects i did using wordpress. I have discussed my experiences of these projects in the talk.

Some ideas i have discussed are:

Innovation is putting technology or concept in the right context.

WordPress has helped me be a leader in my area of work.

Government is a creator and enabler of platforms.

WordPress is the best tool to start your digital presence.

Watch the video below:

Presentation on Slideshare

Rail Radar HotSpots Allows You to Plan Your Journey without Disruption.

One of my post on Rail Radar at Govperneur blog crossed 6000 pageviews . It was an unexpected but pleasant milestone. So i went back and reviewed the article. To my utter dismay i found that the Rail Radar project which was covered in the article has been closed down and link now redirects to the National Train Enquiry Service (NTES)  website of the Indian Railways (CRIS).  On further digging i found that the project which was lauched in partnership with Rail Yatri has been shelved in favour of a new interface (supposedly user friendly) developed by CRIS  in this article.

In that article i had shared that this project marks a major milestone in the digital governance highway the Indian railways is cruising in. With the closing of this project in favour of the new inhouse interface by CRIS the project has moved backwards.  However not to be left behind, Rail Yatri (Stelling Technologies) has created Rail Radar Hotspots. This site provides train movements as per scheduled timings (since CRIS is maintaining its monopoly of train movement data) and also highlights the hotspots which are likely disrupt your travel.

Rail Radar by Rail Yatri

RailRadar™ HotSpots is a live tracker of spots of significant events and incidents called as ‘HotSpots’ occurring across the country which has or has the potential of impacting train travel in India. This live tracker is shown on an interactive map and allows users to locate these HotSpots across the country. It also helps determine if any of the scheduled train has the potential of getting impacted by it.

The effects of these HotSpots vary in terms of severity. Some of the known after-effects which we have tracked are as follows –

  • Widespread cancellation of services (partial or fully)
  • Changes in time schedule or route schedule
  • Delays
  • Rush in trains, unavailability of seats, etc.
  • Accidents/Mishaps
  • Increase in crime.
  • Increased cost of travel

It is difficult to predict a complete list of events or incidents which can impact train travel. However, one can take clues from past events/incidents over the years which have resulted in train travel getting affected in adverse manner. Some of them are –

  • Accidents, Mishaps, Breakdowns
  • Engineering & Construction work and maintenance
  • Significant public gatherings
  • Weather, Natural Calamity, etc.
  • Man-made disruptions
  • Events which cannot be explained or be attributed to – but typically are outcome of Chaos Theory or Domino Effect.

Every year thousands of such reported across the nation which has resulted in significant impact on travel.

Over the last decade, train network and traffic in India have grown tremendously. Indian Railways expects this trend to continue over the next few decades. Also increasingly Indian Railways passengers today want to know more – beyond just ‘an’ ETA of ‘a’ train at ‘a’ station. As the volume and complexity of information increases – we believe that new methods of information dissemination (associated with Trains) will be required. RailRadar™ is one such attempt on that line. We believe that value of information/directions can greatly be enhanced when presented graphically rather than just plain text.

RailRadar™ HotSpots is one such representation of information dissemination mechanism associated with events which can significantly impact train travel in India.

How this affects us?

The larger public interest is affected as CRIS is trying to maintain its monopoly of train data. They should release it as API and allow for innovation. Many innovations are possible like this Wake up call System called Pyka.

The Government has embarked on a mission to promote Open Data and to bring more information into the public domain. Much of the information published there are just statistics. It will be game changer if government takes a proactive approach in releasing such data that are relevant to large section of the population day in and day out.

This my friends represents the challenge and opportunity for Govpreneurs. What other data can be released by the Government that can have a major impact in citizen friendly government. Share your comments.

Credits – FAQs at Rail Radar Hotspots

How to Ask Your Government and Get answers for Public Interest Questions

askyourgovt.in

Information is the Anti-dote to Corruption.

Public Minded citizens are now asking various questions under RTI and making the bureaucracy dispense the information. Question Hour of the Parliament is considered the toughest time for ruling government where legislators ask questions and government is bound to answer. When RTI Act came into force the power to ask questions became available to the Aam Aadmi. Like legislators now even bureaucrats fear about the RTI Questions. It keeps them on their toes.

Most requests in RTI are made for personal issues/work. But when a question of larger public interest is made it becomes relevant to a lot of people. Ask Your Government  is a community around asking public interest questions. Citizens can start with knowing about RTI, How to Ask, Browse RTI requests and Responses or by reading public reactions. This will help in galvanizing the community to deliberate on issue of public interest.

The site also contains FAQs on RTI. The RTI Act is also available for download in 10  indian languages.

The facility to ask RTI questions online and publicly is available in many other countries. What do they Know of  UK, Ask the EU of  European UnionKosovo and Brazil are some good examples. What stifles the RTI movement in India is the need for payment of Rs,10/- as fees. If that requirement is waived off public authorities can be made to provide information online.

It will a great innovation if a Govpreneur can provide a service for Public Offices to provide information under the act using online platforms on payment of fees. Such an initiative is already underway in Government of India to make online RTI requests. However it will be sometime before the facility is available to states and local authorities and small public establishments. Till the online RTI space is open for disruption.

History of Right to Information

World over Right to Information is also known as Freedom of Information

Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 is the oldest in the world. In the 18th century, after over 40 years of mixed experiences with parliamentarism, public access to government documents was one of the main issues with the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766. Although the novelty was put out of order 1772–1809, it has since remained central in the Swedish mindset, seen as a forceful means against corruption and government agencies’ unequal treatment of the citizens, increasing the perceived legitimacy of (local and central) government and politicians. The Principle of Publicity (Swedish: Offentlighetsprincipen), as the collection of rules are commonly referred to, provides that all information and documents created or received by a public institution (local or central government, and all publicly operated establishments) must be available to all members of the public. It also states that all public institutions must do everything in their power to give anyone access to any information that he or she might want as soon as possible.

Over 90 countries around the world have implemented some form of freedom of information legislation.

 

 

Can You survive on $1.25 per day – 1.4 Billion People do

Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank as living on less than USD$1.25 a day. For those living in extreme poverty this needs to cover everything — food, health care, housing, education. This is the kind of poverty that leads to children dying for lack of a basic immunization or access to clean drinking water. This level of poverty is unjust and unnecessary. Extreme poverty is the greatest injustice facing our time. A world that sees over one billion surviving on less than USD$1.25 a day, deprived of their basic rights and opportunities, is unjust and unacceptable.

The last two decades have been the most successful in history in the fight against poverty: the share of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half worldwide, from 43% in 1990 to under 20% today. However, it is unacceptable that more than one billion people still live in extreme poverty. Ending extreme poverty in our lifetimes is a difficult but achievable goal. Now is the time to take action!
end extreme poverty by 2030

What can You do to End Extreme Poverty by 2030?

At the least you can Sign a Petition Online to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Tell the world what you can get for $1 in your place. Just take a picture of what you can get for $1 and post it on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram with #1dollar hashtag. It will be collected at the World Bank Social Hub for #1dollar.

Ask your friends to answer the #1dollar question on social media. Sample post:“What can you buy for #1dollar? More than 1 billion people live in extreme poverty. Post a photo of what you can buy for #1dollar in your country on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and tag it with #1dollar to help spread the word: it’s time to end povertyhttp://zeropoverty2030.org”

About Zero Poverty 2030 Campaign

Zero Poverty 2030 is a campaign run by Global Citizen, an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, in partnership with charities working to end extreme poverty #by2030.

Global Citizen is a learning and action tool designed to help you become a more effective agent for change. Developed in partnership with leading organizations working to fight extreme poverty in the developing world, Global Citizen brings everything you need to know about extreme poverty into one place, and then helps you keep track of the issues and opportunities you care about.

The Global Poverty Project is not-for-profit organization whose vision is much like yours: to live in a world without extreme poverty. We know that extreme poverty is an injustice that can be ended. And we’re working to make it happen by building a global movement for change. We’re working to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty. We utilize the power of education, communication, advocacy, campaigns and the media to advance the movement to end extreme poverty. You can learn all about us – our history, track record, Annual Financial Review – on our website www.globalpovertyproject.com.

Together, we can raise awareness and end extreme poverty. We look forward to seeing your Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, and signatures.

Here are some of the things that you buy for #1Dollar around the world.

Visit the World Bank Social Hub for #1dollar to see more…..

What do you think $1 can buy?

 

 

 

First Global Twitter Conference on Mahatma Gandhi held by Sam Pitroda

gandhiji twitter conference invitation
The First Global Twitter Conference on Mahatma Gandhi was held on his 144th birthday today. Organized by none other than Sam Pitroda Today ( 2nd Oct) at 7 PM IST via Twitter Handle @pitrodasam and Hash Tag: #Gandhi . The Twitter conference garnered more than 7000 tweets from across 94 countries. The aim was to discuss the life and  message of Gandhiji among the twitteratti.

When asked wether today’s computerisation any relevance to Gandhiji’s thoughts, Nirupama Rao ( @NMenonRao ) pitched in saying Gandhiji saw technology as a tool of empowerment. The electronic mouse is truly a “vahana”.

Sam Pitroda has been very active using twitter. This is not the first Twitter conference he has held. Last year in september he had conducted a twitter conference on “Democratisation of Information”. It was touted as the first ever press conference on twitter.

Despite of having the limitations of wordage (just 140 character), Twitter seems to be emerging out as the most powerful medium of politicians, industrialists and think-tanks to express their views of various issues, especially on policy matters.

Pitroda’s example of using the micro-blogging platform for holding a press conference may well set an example of how to using such platforms for holding virtual press conferences going forward.

The Prime Minister had recently launched a Gandhi Heritage Portal and it is now available at www.gandhiheritageportal.org. The Portal developed by the Sabarmati Ashram under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India hosts Gandhiji’s Autobiography in 22 languages. It also has placed the ‘Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi’ in three languages: English 100 volumes, Hindi 97 volumes and Gujarati 82 volumes. In all, the Portal presents more than 5 lakh pages, 21 films, 72 audio speeches of Gandhiji and over a 1000 photographs.

Despite this effort to spread the message of Gandhi twitteratti were busy tweeting about #GandhijiKaChashma as it was trending worldwide. Gandhiji was a social innovator. In todays socially connected world would Gandhiji have used twitter. The Gandhi Heritage portal has the answer.

Read through the happenings of the Twitter Conference as it evolved in this Storify embed below.