Janagraaha's Jaago Re - a resounding failure

India’s Janagraaha, has been one of the most visible faces of the push for democratic reform, thanks to its Jaago Re initiative - with all its quirky ads (thanks to Tata Tea).

Though they have built an entire public campaign around a website, viral videos and SMS - it has turned out what was inevitable - an utter failure.

I was a great believer in their campaign - and active passer-on of the message. Yet, today I was denied the right to vote. And so were hundreds of other people.

And the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of another of India’s misguided NGO - though well intentioned.

The fundamental problem in India is the problem with infrastructure and workflow - both feeding off each other. The issue of the common man reaching out to his inner conscience, getting off his bum and voting come a far second.

Rather than spend untold millions on primetime TV, it would have been better done by actually opening jaago re centres and accepting people’s applications (for inclusion on the voter’s list). They could have affixed a simple QR code sticker (which fits in a lot of data on a bar code style format and is readable even with your mobile phone). They could have used this to enable people to track their applications online.

They could then have seen to getting these people included on the voters lists in bulk.

I went twice to the voters registration centre and was always mired in some red-tape. The second time, I was told in no uncertain terms that address proof will require an affidavit from the house’s owner (we are tenants) and some kind of bill froma govt. bank or utility. I live in an area, where even power distribution is privatised - did I have a hope in hell of getting myself registered?

I came across an interesting fact today - there were two voters lists : a legacy one - with the names of all the people who were registered here since the last election and one with newer additions.

The additions list had 4 names on it.

Yeah… right..


Janagraaha's Jaago Re - a resounding failure


May 07, 2009

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