Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Smart Phone and Politics

A member of the state’s legislative assembly in India (MLA) represents 250,000 people on the average. The member of parliament (MP) represents one to two million people on the average. What does the communications revolution and the Internet mean to the peoples’ representatives? I believe that they provide the best way for the representatives to hear from the people. I believe that every representative needs a well-publicized mobile number and email address to receive grievances.  The fact that most adults have access to a cell phone makes them the most suitable communication device for them to communicate with peoples’ representatives. If the communications received are promptly acknowledged and acted upon, that representative is going to be very popular and vice versa. This is obvious from peoples’ priorities. Visit  Very often the action required is only to re-send the grievance to the government entity concerned and demanding that a proper reply is sent in time. 
This method of grievance redressal is important, but political parties have not given adequate importance to this so far. They have understood the use of mass media. In fact, panel discussions held every working day on most TV channels have become the public forums where the spokesmen of the parties justify their behaviour and reply to major complaints. This is valuable, as the parties are answerable on a day-to-day basis, but it is not enough.
TV discussions do not hold the government departments and officials answerable in any way better than was the case in 1940! Panel discussions can deal with policy issues, but not with the day-to-day performance of tens of thousands of government offices. Electronic grievance reporting under the supervision of peoples’ representatives will make a very big difference to the efficiency of government machinery.
This recognition should be the foundation of e-governance.

Srinivasan Ramani

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