eSwaraj

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eSwaraj

Bangalore, IndiaBangalore, India
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our platform will use mobile and internet technology to address lack of accountability in local governance in India. Our platform aims to highlight departmental faults, trends of public dissatisfaction and facilitate real-time resolutions to local-governance issue.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if elected representatives could be reached out to for issue resolution by the click of a button?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Lack of accountability in local governance is a country wide problem in India, which make issue resolution at local level chaotic for the electorate. Reason for this problem is multi-fold: 1) Lack of strong yet convenient feedback mechanism 2) Lack of organized information with electorate 3) Lack of quantifiable data to show trend of dissatisfaction There is no way to easily report local issues or to quantify a candidate's performance.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

eSwaraj aims to use mesh of mobile and web technologies to create an intelligent system which will facilitate real time reporting of local issues, automatically mapping the complaint to submitter's constituency and publishing the complaint into public domain. We aim to use this collated data to show long time trends and analytic of government's performance and impact. We also aim to set up an interface which'll act as a bridge between elected representatives and electorate and lead to faster issue resolution. The whole system will be synced with popular social media to increase coverage and participation. All this made available for free through mobile internet which has huge penetration in urban India.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Let us say that I am not getting supply of water to my house. I just need 4 taps on the mobile app to report this issue to the elected representative. In the back-end, we have divided each city in a 100 meter by 100 meter grid. The application is smart enough to pick the coordinates from where the complaint is raised and intelligently map it to the nearest point of the grid. These points are, in turn, mapped to a particular constituency and the currently elected candidate for that constituency. Making the feedback system simpler results in more participation and availability of such inputs enables the elected representative to be more effective in his/her work. Over time, this data can be used to judge the performance of the representative.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The scope of impact is huge. Billions of rupees are wasted every year due to bad infrastructure. For example - in Delhi alone, fuel worth 994 crores is wasted every year due to bad roads in monsoon. But the lack of a convenient feedback mechanism leads to these issues not getting reported and hence the elected representatives get away with not fixing them. As our platform depends on the smartphone and internet penetration, we are initially focusing on metro cities and then, we will go to tier-2 and tier-3 town, and then finally to villages. India has a total of about 800 million people using mobile phones, and more and more people switching to smart-phones as these phones are getting cheaper. Smart-phones are growing with more than 200% growth rate. We provide a simple UI to ensure user engagement. As more complaints are raised, the representatives will be forced to fix the problem.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Swaraj means self-governance in Hindi. That is the model we are trying to promote. The people of an area should be in control of where public money is spent and for that we need to collect feedback on what problems the people are facing. There is a move to make a Swaraj law in one of the states in India. With a platform like this, tailor made to help in execution of Swaraj, the impact can be made quickly and if successful then other states will implement the same law too.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

CSR: India mandates that 2% of all profits by corporations should go towards social development activities. We are creating partnerships with major MNCs in India which will fund our initiative. Donations: We will also accept donations from Individuals and NGOs We are in partnership with Cisco Systems which is providing us infrastructure to host our website and app, storage space and computing resources.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There's a similar project in UK - Fix My Street (fixmystreet.com) - they are a forum where users can post images of broken streets, pipes etc so local authorities can take action. Our project goes several steps further: 1. It addresses multiple issues and it's scope can be increased further. 2. It uses technology in an innovative manner to ensure ease of use thereby increasing participation. 3. It solves the problem in Indian context where computer and land line internet are much less prevalent than mobile internet. 4. It provides statistics to judge the performance of the representative
Team

Founding Story

Some of the newer political parties in India are focusing on resolving local issues through public meetings. People would attend these meetings once a month and let the problems be known to the representative. While this is a great way to ensure that voices of the people are heard in matters of public expenditure, the huge population in India poses a major challenge in organizing these meetings. Also, if I have water problem today, I don't want to wait a month for the next meeting to report it. With the introduction of this new model, we realized the need to develop a platform which would make this whole process easier to manage and more convenient.

Team

Rakesh: He worked with various political parties to understand what problems they face in governance and what kind of technology solutions might help them. He works on defining the product. Also works on our partnerships with elected representatives Vaibhav: Works on Marketing and Publicity. Is responsible for Corporate partnerships and getting necessary funding. Ravi: He is the Backend Design Lead Pradeep: He is the Frontend Design Lead
About You
Organization:
Cisco Systems
About You
First Name

Vaibhav

Last Name

Sinha

About Your Project
Organization Name

Cisco Systems

How long has your organization been operating?

Please select

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Project
Organization Country

, KA, Bangalore

Country where this project is creating social impact

, DL, Bangalore

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, NGOs, Businesses.

Supplemental
Partnerships

We have a hosting agreement with Cisco Systems which enables us to use Cisco Datacentres for our Mobile and Web Platform.

We are also working on creating partnership with Karnataka Government and BBMP.

How does your idea encourage citizens to participate in making roads safer?

The project aims to resolve issues of bad infrastructure and help administration identify areas of traffic congestion helping them plan better. All this is possible only by data generated by citizen participation. When citizens participate, they will see a positive change which will further encourage them creating a positive feedback loop.

Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The platform relies heavily on citizen participation. If not enough citizens participate, then the scope and impact gets limited. To overcome this, we are designing informative videos, trying to work with NGOs which can use their volunteer base to submit complaints, and working with public figures to endorse and publicise the platform.

Additional Information
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following challenges?

Active citizenship: Projects that work to promote active engagement with road safety from individual citizens, pedestrians, communities, and social networks, or that use education as a tool to raise awareness and promote engagement, Technology: Projects that leverage technology to promote road safety, Governance: Projects that address public policy, legal, and/or regulatory issues in the area of road safety.

Would you like your project to be considered for the Bangalore People’s Choice Prize?

Yes

If yes, how is your project applicable to the Bangalore context?

Our organisation is based out of Bangalore and would be the first city where we would be launching our platform. Bangalore is also a perfect fit for our initiative due to huge penetration of smart phones and mobile internet. Also, since Bangalore is a hub of technologists, a large population is tech-savvy and welcoming of technology based solutions. Most of the working population suffers daily due to bad road infrastructure and congestion because of bad planning which would make our initiative appealing to them.

We plan to launch in Bangalore mid-August, 2014.