Facilitating citizen-authorities engagement: interesting effort

It is true that whatever be the issue/ grievance in question, citizens often do not register complaints simply because a)they do not know where to go with their complaints b)the process to do so is perceived to be tedious and unwieldy c)they are not sure that their voices will be heard or in many cases d)they fear harassment from the complaint-receiving authorities. So, a project that can facilitate the process is a welcome initiative. Though a first glance it appears to add another layer to the system already in place and may seem like a 'less than ideal' approach, citizens may actually welcome this buffer which facilitates engagement and gives visibility, weight to their complaints and issues/ cause(s).

To me it seems that this kind of a project is good for general civic issues where the need is for someone to give more visibility to the cause/ complaint (ex: by publishing the cause/ complaint on the Website). I am not sure if people would be using this platform for issues that are more personal in nature (sexual harassment for example). It will be good to know if the tool allows for different handling of sensitive/ personal issues.

Also, Selvam points out "With Kiirti, we don’t want to directly build a rapport with government departments". Rather, the aim appears to be to partner with other agencies that already have established channels of communication with the authorities. However, from the citizen's point of view, Kiirti is the first (and as far as the citizen is concerned - the only, one-stop shop) touch-point that they have to voice their causes/ concerns. So it would be interesting to have more details regarding how the project ensures validation of the process. For example, if I register a complaint, do I get some response telling me that yes, the complaint has reached the authorities and has been acknowledged as received? Or else, what is the process of feedback to evaluate that the mechanism is working?

Having said that, I think it is a welcome effort to facilitate the engagement process and I think it will be a relevant tool until the day the authorities become more approachable and open and decide to simplify the engagement process at their end. Some of the State governments have already begun to roll out such initiatives through the use ICT. For example, the Madhya Pradesh Government's E-governance site (http://www.indg.in/e-governance/ict-initiatives-in-states-uts/ict-initia...) has an online grievance redressal option.


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