The reason why India desperately needs a voter engagement platform

The reason why India-VF

We might be the world’s biggest democracy but we are yet to be the most mature one. Infact given that India’s political class only came into existence just 68 years ago, it is no surprise that real people-to-political engagement has been very limited.

If we go by the books, it is quite easy to claim that since there are year long rallies and political gatherings at any given time in India, political engagement must be high. However, there is a pretty thick line between political engagement and political broadcasting. Engagement by its nature is a two-way street; it cannot happen without both sides having equal opportunity to speak their mind. However, broadcast is just a one-way conversation which is quite usually from politician’s end as they continue to speak from their high table on the stage.

Ofcourse unlike what was earlier thought, the discomfort has spread to both ends. It is no longer just the voters complaining about the lack of political dialogue, even politicians have realized that no longer can they successfully govern in a digitally connected India without involving their own voters. This sudden change in understanding happened because of the unprecedented wave of digitization and connectivity which allows information to spread faster than wild fire.

Politicians in India have accepted the fact that only way to survive a wave this big is not to oppose it, but to ride with it. The alternative is political exile when the voters reach their ballots, as has been proven on several elections in recent times.

However, while social media and micro-blogging sites have contributed tremendously in bringing politicians closer to their constituency, it has not quite been able to complete the circle. It has several loop holes including that of vagueness where there is no way to track a complain posted or if any solution has even been brain-stormed, let alone delivered.

What is needed is a 360 degree platform where issues can be posted, tracked and solved with complete accountability on the leader, discussion threads so other voters can join in and support a raised issue, sharing of important political speeches, pictures and opinion of the politicians, public polling on the go and so on.

This is what Voter First has set out to achieve. Not only did Appynitty Communications create a platform by combining a mobile app with a cloud-based contact centre, it opened new pathways to political engagement like never seen in our country before. This is true not just for India, but even across the world where apps like these have many limitations, which Voter First has managed to overcome. The biggest challenge in India is to connect the rural population with the political class just as strongly as the urban voters. This is why the concept of a voice based contact centre was added alongside the comprehensive mobile app – so no voter is left behind!

We believe that Voter First will bring about a revolution in our nation, the likes of which has never been experienced by the common citizen. They will have more voice and more opportunities to exercise their right to be heard by political leaders whom they elected. It will give politicians a real platform to deliver their promises to the people much faster through m-governance.

The author of this blog is Co-Founder of Appynitty Communications who created Voter First – India’s first 360o voter engagement platform for politicians.

Why the next political campaign ground – is every voter’s phone

Even as more Indians dig deeper into the realms of the internet, smartphones are fast emerging as the only source of web browsing. One of the most favorable factors which influence this transition from desktops to phones is the use of personalized mobile apps. And the nation’s political parties and their prospective candidates have already begun to take note and act on this shifting trend.

Till now most parties already had a significant presence online through websites and social media pages. However, politicians seem to have woken up to the competitive edge that a mobile app provides. One such innovation is by Appynitty Communications, where developers have come up with a unique concept of creating apps for individual politicians rather than parties.

On downloading, users can now view the picture and name of the politician as the sole identity of the application. Through such mediums political leaders can now, quite literally, have a personal presence with every voter.

For the first time, mobile applications are facilitating voter-to-politician engagement at an unprecedented scale. No wonder Appynitty Communications has named this innovative product – Voter First.

Such products have delivered a completely new platform for political campaigning and debating. The only difference being that now even a common voter has voice in such discussions. Even better, emerging applications like Voter First have opened a new domain of political accountability by giving people a forum to raise their grievances. Politicians are now more aware of the needs of their constituents and can take decisive action to show their commitment towards voter satisfaction.

What adds to the unique approach of Voter First is the establishment of personalized cloud contact centres for individual political leaders as part of the product’s complete package. This allows any voter with a phone to connect with their political leaders by simply dialing a number. Through this automated contact centre, callers can now leave feedbacks to politicians, raise issues of content, check back on the status of their complaints, listen to speeches and a lot more.

When considering that India is home to more than 930 Million telephone users, of which nearly a quarter are smartphones, the potential reach of such a product is massive. And now like everything else, even politics will soon move their ground from a road side rallying point to the comfortable zone of a voter’s phone.

Technologically ground-breaking application like Voter First are fast reaching complete adoption among voters and politicians. What is clear is that these applications would soon transform people-to-political engagement as we know it.

Civic engagement through m-Governance

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT-VF

Ever since our great democracy took birth in 1947, it has been evolving through various twists and turns, from ‘Right to vote’ to ‘Right to Information’, and now Right to be heard in the digital world. People’s participation in governance is changing in the digital age. With the ever increasing penetration of mobile phones in India, people demand access to governmental information at their fingertips.

Voters’ expectations from their leaders have increased with growing political awareness. In order to attract people and prove that they have chosen a leader who really values their opinion, leaders must respond to people and actively demonstrate that voters’ voices do matter in policy making.

Appynitty Communications has conceptualized a revolutionary personalized voter engagement platform- ‘Voter First’. Considering that India has third largest number of smartphone users in the world, politicians should make a smart move by following the modern trend and utilizing apps like Voter First to directly connect to their citizens. People can easily raise their local or national issues to the concerned leader through this app. By making their presence on Voter First, politicians gain an opportunity to express their ideas to people and show that they are within people’s reach.

Voter First is a futuristic political application which is truly based on the idea of voter participation in democracy. Leaders can conduct public polls to know the opinions of their people which will help them in decision making process and in establishing a more responsive system of governance. The app facilitates voters to communicate their grievances and issues concerning them to their political representative or the concerned government official. The raised issues reach to the leader and are sent for speedy resolution to respective departments. Also people can track the status of their grievances in the app.

Voter First is an effective tool for politicians to demonstrate their achievements and developmental works in their constituencies. They can broadcast videos of their speeches and pictures of different events to keep people updated of their activities. Also, they can invite people to their upcoming events and request digital RSVPs from them. This not only creates their image of a responsible leader but also augments their credibility in the public.

Voter First also integrates leader’s social media pages all in one place and provides their live feeds to the users. People can now have a greater insight to their leader’s social, political and personal information.

Along with these distinctive features and numerous daily public utilities like newspapers, job search, public help lines, directory etc; Voter First is a complete package. By creating an application like Voter First, Appynitty Communications has certainly endeavored in realizing the vision of a Digital India.