Participatory Democracy - Importance and A Fool-Proof Way to achieve it


Before you read this article- please understand that nation / society will remain progressive if and only if citizens actively participate in governance to make things better and better. No leaders, no political parties can remain corruption-proof forever. Only active participation of citizens in governance keeps nation progressive and politicians on toes. To achieve this - Actual Activism (by Actual - I mean activism based on real actions - submitting demands, complaints, suggestions, proposals etc to Gov; making Gov solve / implement them by creating awareness about them etc.) is must.

System should be designed in such a way that this kind of participation of common citizens is made easier, enabling activists to unite under causes - independent of leaders and paid media support. Today, this is completely absent in India. And that is harming the functioning of nation.

Let us consider an example :

We all know that there's corruption in RTO.

Let's say I want to make a complaint about the above problem. I will approach - may be ACB - and file a complaint.

Four problems:

1) This complaint will either get suppressed or will be worked upon by snail's pace.

2) There might be 10s or 100s of SIMILAR complaints already registered but as those 10s or 100s don't know that there are others also who have filed complaints - they can not unite and form a pressure group.

3) Common public - those who also face similar problems, but don’t want to INITIATE any complaints - will never come to know that there are people who are doing something like this - and hence will not be able to support them.

4) If some activist dares to come forward and tries building consensus on the issue - before a big pressure group gets created, corrupt people (RTO agents etc) will find that guy and directly or indirectly will trouble him with the help of goondaas, corrupt politicians etc.

So here – even if many activists are trying to improve things, even though Common People also want to solve the problem, as the submitted complaints are not made public – problem persists.
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Proposed Solution :

Transparent Complaint Procedure / Transparent Suggestion Procedure / Transparent Opinion Gathering :

(A proposed Gazette Notification)

• If any citizen voter wants, then by visiting Collector’s office, he/she can put his Complaint/Suggestion/Demand etc on PM’s website/CM’s website/any other official portal for Rs 20 fee after verifying his/her identity. Collector will give the receipt about the same to the voter.

• If any citizen voter supports a particular Complaint/Suggestion/Demand etc, then by visiting Talati’s (Lekhpal, Patwari etc) office, he can register his support (YES) over the Complaint/Suggestion/Demand etc on PM’s website/CM’s website/any other portal for Rs 3/- fee after verifying the identity. Collector will give the receipt about the same to the voter.

• Any citizen voter can change his YES/NO any day by visiting Talati's office and paying Rs 3 for the same.

• The YES/NO count is not a binding on PM, CM etc.

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ALL of the problems mentioned above get solved by above draft as it provides a transparent way to communicate whatever you want to WHOLE INDIA !

(Please note that - this system can be implemented on 3 levels - District, State and Nation. So problems related to a particular district will not clutter with those of State and similarly with those of Nation.)

So, what this proposal actually does is - It enables citizens to participate in the saafsafaai and functioning of nation.

This system won't be limited to just "complaints" or "demands". It'll be helpful in putting forward good suggestions on any issues. Making people aware of something which can solve their problems – build consensus about it – generate local/national support. This will help Government too - in finding intelligent activists who can work in collaboration with the Gov to improve things around.

So this system promotes real activism from Citizens - focused on issues that affect their lives. This system helps unite citizens/activists under one cause - independent of leader or paid media support.
One thing needs to be kept in mind here - This system is NOT a solution to any of our problems. This is way to channelize implementation of solutions around - IN DEMOCRATIC WAY. This system becomes a medium of real activists - helping them build consensus on their proposed solutions - create positive pressure on Gov.
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Five Common Qs about above proposal –

1) What about those who don’t have internet?

2) What about impact of caste/religion on people’s choices?

3) What if people are paid money to support/oppose proposals by corrupt/bad politicians?

4) Will the "Lazy Indian" come out to support/oppose these stupid proposals/demands?

5) Won’t people support populist demands like free food etc?

Answer to 1st Q : What about those who don’t have internet?

– The Q itself is wrong. Whether you have internet or not doesn’t matter to submit a proposal or support/oppose it. You will have to visit Talati’s office for the same. Also, after above system is implemented the support/oppose mechanism can be made easier by allowing secured ways like sms (like mobile banking), ATMs etc.

Answer to 2nd Q : What about impact of caste/religion on people’s choices?

– Today caste/religion etc has some impact on Voting because people do not have a good and reliable way out. People do NOT vote to the ‘most favourite’ but to the ‘least hated’ alternative because they do not want ‘most hated’ to win. As people completely believe that “Sab ke sab chor hai” – they choose “ghar ka chor”. Even if they have a good alternative – there is a fear that “others” will not vote this good guy and hence the “most hated” might win – and hence vote goes to “least hated”. The above mentioned proposal solves this dilemma as the Opinion gathering is – TRANSPARENT. Everyone will see which idea is garnering support – slowly but steadily. The ACTIVISTS will be able to build consensus slowly.

Also, people might have preferences of whom to vote – but their demands are universal. The above example of corruption in RTO is universal. Everyone faces it irrespective of one’s caste n religion. Roti – Kapda – Makaan are basic needs of everybody. Good roads, proper medical facilities, quality education etc are the needs and demands of ALL PEOPLE. Proposals, demands, ideas, suggestions which fulfil such demands will get support – irrespective of WHO submits them – because – these ideas will affect livelihoods of people DIRECTLY.

Answer to 3rd Q : What if people are paid money to support/oppose proposals by corrupt/bad politicians?

– Please read third clause of the above proposal – “Any citizen voter can change his YES/NO any day by visiting Talati's office and paying Rs 3 for the same.” - This means if I pay you and other 1000 people Rs 100 to support my demand – you do so today – you can very well go tomorrow (or any day) and change your support to oppose. For how many days will I pay you and other 1000 people?

Answer to 4th Q : Will the "Lazy Indian" come out to support/oppose these stupid proposals/demands?

– This really depends upon exactly what the proposal/demand is all about. People will come out if they think the proposal/demand/suggestion really affects them positively or negatively. Activists' job is to make people aware of what the proposal/demand is. People will decide if it is worth acknowledgement.
Answer to 5th Q : Won’t people support populist demands like free food etc?

– Simple Common sense. There is not a single proposal/idea/demand which can be termed as “bad” yet garners support of a majority population. It simply can’t be. Either the proposal is really good (as it takes care of the good of a majority of population) or it certainly has side effects on some part of the population. If people who get benefited from a bad proposal start supporting it – others will start opposing the same – discussion will begin – and Gov will have to address all the concerns before taking a decision. Today – this communication, discussion is completely missing in our Democracy. Above proposal achieves this communication and discussion - and brings Participatory Democracy.

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Please ask your favorite leaders/parties to help us bring Participatory Democracy through above proposed Gazette Notification.