Tapping into the potential of technology, especially harnessing the power of mass participation through the Internet, have been the highlights of the NDA's campaign even in the course of the run up to the Lok Sabha elections 2014. Harnessing the power of social media was among Prime Minister Narendra Modi's chief agenda points at the PMO. The introduction of an interactive platform in the form of the MyGov website - an Internet-based citizen engagement forum was thus much along expected lines. The website allows any Indian with an e-mail to sign up and participate in the many campaigns run by the government for development purposes by offering suggestions and volunteering help. The government believes that the website will assist in achieving its aim - Surajya (good governance)
The MyGov website was put together by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) and the National Informatics Centre (NIC). DEITY and NIC together look after the operations and maintenance of the portal. Plans to create a mobile app for the site are underway. Users may opt for Hindi or English languages to view the site.
Launch and reception
MyGov was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, July 26, 2014. The launch also commemorated the successful culmination of two months of the BJP-led NDA government. At the inauguration, Modi expressed his deep confidence that Indians - both in the country and NRIs - are indeed very keen to contribute towards the country's administration and nation-building efforts. All that was required was a portal, a platform for the people to broadcast their ideas and to be heard by the administration. He said that the initiatives of his administration would be to welcome all suggestions, constructive criticism, and participation on the MyGov portal.
"I am confident that people of my nation will welcome this initiative and this mission will succeed as the strength and capability of 125 crore Indians is enormous", said the PM on the occasion of the website's launch.
The website was received very favorably upon launch. Barely 10 days into its launch, by early August 2014, MyGov already boasted of 100, 000 registered users. By mid-September, Google, the search giant, decided to collaborate with MyGov. Google subsequently ran a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing collaboration with the website. The government has also been actively engaged in promoting use of the portal from time to time. For example for the PM's first national radio address, a set of queries were selected from the portal and Modi responded to these on radio.
Democracies across the world (more predominantly in the EU and the Americas) are increasingly taking advantage of technology and started to make e-governance an integral part of administration. The introduction of MyGov is consistent with the NDA government's emphasis on technology and greatly complements PM Modi's dream of a Digital India. The importance of MyGov in effective e-governance can be derived from the Prime Minister's tweet following the portal's launch "A democracy can't succeed without people's participation. 'MyGov' empowers the people of India to contribute towards Surajya", said the PM. He backed up his promise of a fair administration by the launch of an online public grievance forum at PG Portal alongside MyGov.
Registered users have the option to both discuss the topics open on the site and to do or volunteer services. As of mid-October 2014, there are about 14 different groups on the MyGov portal
|Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
|Caring for the Specially Abled
||Manual Scavenging-Free India
||Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana
|Expenditure Management Commission
|Girl Child Education
Users may choose to undertake various tasks from among these groups ad the success in these undertakings will be screened by other site users and experts. Users are allowed to upload documents, images, videos, and other files pertaining to the discussions and tasks
The various contests and invitations for creative inputs have got the site buzzing. Various ministries have invited entries for caption, logo, tagline, and e-greetings for various occasions of national importance or for the launch of websites of government departments. A number of contestants have bagged between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000 for winning entries. The winners' names, their creations, and other details are regularly shared in the blog maintained on the site. The introduction of these contests has been a great success going by the number of responses received and by the enthusiasm of being involved in governmental activities.
Criticism and concerns
MyGov had developed a number of early technological problems. A day after its launch, even as people were attempting to register in great numbers they received an error message - that did not allow them to sign up for quite some time. However, none of the hitches are exceedingly major ones and the efficacy of the site shall be tested with more users registering each month.
||My Country, My Government, My Voice
||National Informatics Centre (NIC)