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Wednesday, 1.04.2020
eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001

It's true. Government apps are the new infrastructure. They are as important as any government office today. And we won't know if they work unless we use them.

Let me give you an example. Some weeks ago, I posted a complaint about insufficient streetlighting on a road in Dhyari on the Aaple Sarkar app. I filed it and promptly, forgot about it. I went on to decide buying a torch would be time better spent.

But I was pleasantly surprised when after a few days I received a call from the PMC asking about my complaint. A very polite official at the other end asked me about the location and why I felt it needed more light after dark.

And that was it. The next day, PMC staff turned up at the site, installed a fresh lightbulb and thanks to digital outreach, we now have a better-lit road. What was even more refreshing is that I was invited to see the work being carried out and the engineer patiently explained the entire process of streetlighting.

Now I know this example can be dismissed as a one-off. But how can we assess the efficiency of e-governance systems unless we are frequent users? Systems evolve over time, through user feedback.

Today, we can use WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and many apps to report everything from potholes, water supply issues, etc. Complaints placed digitally are on record for longer and chances of faster response are higher.

There's another example I wish to present: The ambulance service 108. I was once on my way home from work when I saw an elderly person lying on the side of the road, bleeding. I stopped and dialled 108, a call which was answered within a second. They took all the necessary details from me and deployed an ambulance, which was able to reach the spot within 10 or 12 minutes. Throughout the process of helping the person, I was not asked a single question that would have made me uncomfortable as a bystander who had just reported an accident. The emergency team then thanked me for reporting it.

I would like to admit that I am somewhat of an infrastructure geek. So far, I have filed over 180 complaints via the Aaple Sarkar app. So I have met many PMC officials who have been kind (and patient) enough to leave their phone numbers with me in case I spot more problems.

For someone who was worked all his life in big tech, I was happy to see how I was able to resolve a civic problem with a few simple clicks.

So readers, this is my message: There are apps out there that can improve neighbourhoods. Let's start using them. All of our complaints may not be addressed, but we need to start somewhere. The only way we can keep our civic staff on their toes is by using our fingertips.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Sachin Jadhav

Quelle/Source: >The Times of India, 29.01.2020

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