| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
MyGov is possibly the world's largest digital citizen engagement platform for creating a participatory democracy ecosystem. Multiple innovations and best practices have been created into devising inclusive digital engagement models with special focus on user-ease and user experience.
MyGov’s engagement models are broadly arranged in three categories
1. Discuss: (topic/sector specific forums)
2. Do: (crowdsourcing citizen talent through creative contests, performing on ground/online tasks policy and governance issues, etc.), Poll (gauging citizen mood/choice on various governance options), Survey (on various parameters, options, to take citizen feedback), Innovation Challenges (enabling government to seek innovative solutions for governance issues), Quiz (to educate citizens on governance issues through an entertainment mechanism), MOVE (inviting for volunteering for a cause to transform the country).
3. Disseminate: Transforming India (to disseminate information about initiatives taken up by government while allowing citizens to upload their comments, images and videos).
MyGov’s activities are arranged across 54 groups, covering more than 40 ministries to facilitate citizens to locate activities of their interest. The government’s commitment to citizen participation can be appreciated from the fact that out of over 3.6 million comments, not one has ever been deleted or moderated for expressing a contrarian opinion
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
MyGov is a breakthrough technological implementation spearheaded by Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, & IT supported by its technical arm National Informatics Centre.
Administratively, MyGov is managed as a corporate entity, created under the Indian Companies Act, fully owned by the Government of India. The organization is funded by grant-support from the government of India for the first five years – 2014-19. A detailed business model for funding activities beyond the grant support period is under development.
The project aims to reach out to the entire Indian population over the next few years, leveraging internet and non-internet based methodologies explained in the previous sections. So far, over 25 million citizens have visited the website and over 4 million have registered on the site to participate in its various activities.
MyGov, a citizen engagement portal, established under one of the nine foundation pillars of Digital India – e-Governance, has taken various initiatives to promote Digital India among the citizens. It has also provided different access mediums to Indian citizens living in India and abroad, ranging from web-portal to mobile application, and integrated voice based solution, allowing citizens to submit their suggestions for the Government. Since its inception, MyGov has had a widespread impact and a global target audience. For the first time ever, Over 4 million users are able to contribute their ideas to core policy issues, make suggestions, give feedback, and participate in the governance process at large through discussions, tasks, polls, talks.
Through MyGov - Citizens Can:
• Directly connect with the Government, Ministries and other government organizations
• Realize their hidden potential and talent on a national platform and get recognition for their talents
• (Discuss) Express views on policies, programs and matters of national interest
• (Do Tasks) Collaborate on key areas of development and governance
• Contribute to nation building while earning credits along the way by Posting views on Discussions
• Completing tasks as volunteers
• View ideas and viewpoints of others and share and comment on them
Thus become active and engaged partners in governance
• Understand viewpoints of citizens and gather feedback
• Get people's ideas and their contribution through the tasks
• Identify talent and expertise which can be garnered towards the success of projects with people's participation
• Implement best ideas and achieve the goal of 'Good Governance'
Thus, collect and prioritize citizen inputs for policy actions
Some notable outcomes of the project are:-
• Supporting Government of India’s Smart Cities Mission in making Indian cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. MyGov has been the primary mode for organizing citizen consultations for suggestions on drafting the Smart City Proposal.
• In an effort to promote a consultative approach towards designing the national education policy, MyGov conducted stake holder consultations from national level down to the village level. In case of school education, consultations were held in 21 out of 36 states, 340 out of 669 districts, 725 urban local bodies, 3,250 blocks and 1,10,623 villages. In case of Higher Education, 20 out of 36 states, 406 out of 669 districts, 962 urban local bodies and 274 blocks participated in the consultations.
• MyGov is the primary medium for citizens to share their ideas for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's monthly radio address to the nation Mann Ki Baat (heart-to-heart talk) having received over 80,000 ideas online. Since September 2015 over 280,000 messages were also recorded via IVRS for Mann Ki Baat. The Prime Minister personally mentioned some of the key ideas in his monthly radio address, and advocated for actions to promote these ideas. Citizens can send their message(s) to the Prime Minister using multiple modes - websites, mobile applications, IVRS, toll-free calls and letters etc.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
MyGov facilitates aiding public consultations through designing, developing, hosting and managing citizen engagement activities like Discussions, Tasks, Polls, Talks and Blogs. To execute its core activities an initial budget of approx. USD 15 million was allocated.
As MyGov’s scope expanded, newer action items got appended. MyGov has taken up other activities such as anchoring major national initiatives, publishing expert Blogs, conducting Polls, managing Surveys, development of Mobile applications, microsites and State MyGov Instances, deploying Transcription software, setting up a Digital Studio for MyGov Talks for Ministers and Ministries, inter-ministerial events like Solution Xchange, MyGov Chapters and other Creative Contests etc. MyGov has been an integral part of many national level initiatives of the government that require extensive procedures and a high level of co-ordination with multiple stakeholders.
MyGov is completely based on Open Source technology and tools. In addition to the in-house team, MyGov has also associated with academic institutions, industry bodies, leading companies and think tanks to develop new technological and methodological features.
MyGov’s key components are:
Public Consultation - MyGov enables continuous, sustained and multi-faceted engagement between Government and the citizens on issues of public policy and program implementation, such as:
• Sharing consultation papers in the public domain
• Structured Consultations through questionnaire
• Free flow consultation through discussion threads
• Publication of summary of discussions
• Interface with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter etc.
Discussion Groups – MyGov provides for multiple parallel online discussion forums for concurrent subject specific discussions on governance issues.
• Each discussion group can have multiple discussion threads to focus on different dimensions of larger issues
• Closure of discussions by Departments by publishing summary of discussions and action taken
• Departments can define specific tasks to be performed by citizens voluntarily as part of policy design and program implementation
• Each task to be assigned certain credit hours and defined timelines for execution
• Tasks can be performed by citizens individually and collectively, successful completion leads to crediting of credit hours in the volunteers’ account
• Departments periodically announce Credit based incentives
• Submitted tasks are subjected to Public Review / Social Audit before acceptance of ideas / tasks by Departments
• Status updates of “Task Completed” include completion and success parameters such as results of peer review / social audit and department’s response
• Crediting, recognizing and rewarding selected Ideas and creative concepts with prizes / awards / letters of appreciation for winners and participants
• Departments constitute juries to review & rate submissions online
Blogs, Newsletter, Social Media Presence
• Blogs, Newsletters are written on periodic basis
• Periodic Conferences, Workshops, promotional events, press conferences
Dash-Board and Analytics
• MyGov is developing a web-based Dash-board for government departments, citizens and senior management with a variety of pre-defined reports
• Activity profile (summary and user-specific)
• Content profile (popular tasks / groups / number of responses and likes)
• Customized reports for departments
a. Data Analytics
• Analysis of Usage data generated through the portal for reports and guiding direction for the evolution of the Platform and related infrastructure
• Sentiment analysis to understand aggregated citizen opinion
b. Knowledge Repository
• Case studies of Citizen Engagement
• Success stories of tasks
• Outcome of Discussion groups
• Summary of various citizen engagements, lessons learnt
• Terms of Reference, legal documents, guidelines, frameworks for Citizen Engagement or use of social media
• Official MyGov Mobile apps for the main platform as well as subsidiary microsites/ applications for mobile devices / tablets for major platforms
• Facility for users to develop related apps and hosting the apps on Ministry App page
• SMS / email integration for alerts for registered users on subjects / keywords
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
MyGov has been designed, developed and implemented by Ministry of Electronics and Information technology, Government of India, spearheaded by National Informatics Centre, a premier science and technology organization promoting informatics led development. It is the brainchild of the current Prime Minister who wanted to create a robust platform available to all citizens to participate in all aspects of the governance process, to deliberate on important policy matters, to assess implemented policies/schemes, etc. effectively bridging the communication gap and making citizens’ opinion count.
MyGov works closely with the central government departments, state governments and other public and private institutions to create services for the citizens and leverages their participation in policy level discussions and other citizen-centric activities. These include software industry associations (Nasscom), multinational companies (Google, Intel, Texas Instruments), academic institutions (IIM Ahmedabad), incubators (CIIE, T-Hub), regulatory bodies (TRAI), think tanks (Niti Aayog) and multilateral organisations (UNDP), among others. MyGov has also actively engaged with over 250,000 rural local bodies (Panchayats) and 5,000 municipalities to enable their views to be recorded in national debates.
MyGov has actively contributed to the Draft National Policy for Women by soliciting comments from citizens, some of which were included in the policy. Furthermore, MyGov has actively advocated for various thematic areas including sanitation, skill development, education, trafficking, motherhood etc., by gathering first-hand and other experiences from citizens, to provide detailed reports to the concerned ministries. Apart from this, MyGov also anchors various action-oriented microsites that serve as an intermediary platform between the government and the citizens, to further strengthen the partnership and initiate public action for several nation-building activities. Among the prominent microsites, Swachh Bharat (Clean India) microsite is a collaborative network for this social cause, engaging users to post images and videos of their activities and nominate others to take up cleanliness drives collectively.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
A national level program, Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (One India Excellent India) was launched on Rashtriya Ekta Divas (National Unity Day), 31st October 2015 marking the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. The initiative aims to promote cultural infusion and fraternity through exchange of language, trade, culture, travel and tourism. MyGov hosted an essay competition seeking suggestions to link states and districts. 3,000 ideas were received during the contest, and the scheme was included in the Union Budget 2016-2017.
In an effort to promote a consultative approach towards designing the national education policy, MyGov conducted stake holder consultations from national level down to the village level. In case of school education, consultations were held in 21 out of 36 states, 340 out of 669 districts, 725 urban local bodies, 3,250 blocks and 1,10,623 villages. In case of Higher Education, 20 out of 36 states, 406 out of 669 districts, 962 urban local bodies and 274 blocks participated in the consultations
Citizens in India assert prime importance to the budgets presented by the government. The Union Government used MyGov to understand needs of the citizens and their key concerns before the Rail Budget and the Union Budget. Over the years, MyGov has received more than a lakh comments from across the world for these budgets. Further, MyGov analysed these comments and sent reports to the respective ministries to present the citizen’s pulse to the government. When the budgets were presented, several ideas submitted by the citizens were reflected in it.
MyGov has anchored multiple activities (including discussions and tasks) to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. It has successfully executed a discussion on How Sustainable Management of Natural Resources may achieve Food & Rural livelihood security in India?
Supporting Government of India’s Smart Cities Mission in making Indian cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. MyGov has been the primary mode for organizing citizen consultations for suggestions on drafting the Smart City Proposal. MyGov offers a range of citizen consultation methodologies such as Discussions, Tasks, Polls, Talks, Surveys and Blogs.
MyGov also anchored a unique Rate My Government Survey, enabling citizens to rate the performance of the Central Government through website and IVRS.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
MyGov has been using various innovative approaches to become a stronger voice shaping public opinion in India. Some of the challenges faced and subsequent solutions used are:
• In the process of implementing and emboldening MyGov as an online platform, it was learnt that something more needed to be done for citizens belonging to the ‘internet-grey areas’ therefore systems like IVRS, Outbound Dialing and missed call facility have been implemented.
• While implementing MyGov, new challenges are faced every day. Some of the prominent ones are: MyGov is panning out with the launch of state-specific MyGov instances. A major challenge we saw was while implementing these state instances in regional languages. Though there is technology available for transliteration of written text in Hindi, it is yet to evolve for other regional Indian languages. Multiple discussions and tasks run on MyGov at any given time due to which huge number of comments and suggestions are generated. Team MyGov has been analyzing these comments manually so far, MyGov is in the process of buying an analytics software for implementing contextual and sentiment analysis of the citizen suggestions received.
• The biggest challenge pertains to changing the mindsets. Ministries have to be convinced of the power of citizen participation and citizens have to be convinced that the government takes their opinions seriously. This issue has been addressed by continuous outreach and engagement with ministries and citizens through on-line and on-ground activities and widely publicizing the government’s acceptance of citizen contributions to the policies and programs.