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Praja.in - whats ahead?

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391 users have liked.

A "whats next" type discussion has been pending for sometime now, how about we start one. To kick it off, here are the two broad thoughts what got us started in the first place:

=> Need for a platform to enable citizens to be activists in their areas of concern and interest. Platform as in enable and equip, with information, pointers, complaint numbers, contacts of relevant people, success/failure stories and alike.
=> Try to utilize the power of Internet to build a big and strong community. We realize that if easy and online ways of activism are made available, there will be better participation because the reality of present times is - most of us are not willing to give these things serious personal effort and time.

So we took off, with this website Praja.in, and the first goal is to build a sizable community of like minded urban residents. Like minded as in concerned, knowledgeable, aware, and at times willing to indulge in activism.

But, with time if we could supplement the discussions with some field-work, that should bring us visible results and satisfaction. Towards that, we could:
- organize events, like meet with BBMP/BDA officers to ask or to tell.
- File RTI applications on behalf of community
- Few of us participate in town-hall/RWA type meetings and communicate thoughts and ideas on behalf of all of us
- and more (PILs?)

Frankly, converting an active online community to be more meaningful is an area of challenge, and the ideas should come from the community itself.

So let us know what your thoughts are, and help us define goals that fit the broad theme of community driven activism leveraging Internet as the networking and enabling platform.

One more thing. We want to keep and grow Praja.in as a faceless and champion-less group as much as possible. We are not a bunch of publicity seekers or glory hunters. A big and active online-citizen's community is our goal, and we are all stakeholders in building and maintaining it. So while we, the admins run the site and watch after technicalities and moderations on as-needed basis, please contribute, via content now and some field-work later.

- {Praja.in admin team}

Comments

thampan's picture

a small idea

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104 users have liked.
Have a section for praja projects / (maybe can be called prajects). These can be of any nature, but the idea is that you post the project details here and praja helps you to take it forward. Some people may have ideas and technical expertise Some people may have time to follow them up. So bring the people together and open up a platform. Any praja user should be able to create a praject and other users should be able to join in it. some basic rules 1) Define the objective - This could vary like a) obtain the status of road works done in place x through RTI b) get bangalore traffic police implement a new traffic policy on road x ( say a new one way or two way) This could also have a dead line - but i think this may be optional as public projects may take a longer timer than you think it should. 2) define the modality of how to go about it ex : a) I will submit an application b) bring this idea to the notice of traffic police officials, please help me in doing this. 2 a) if you can identify what kind of support you need or if you can identify roles for the people who need to be in the praject, identify them. 3) do the work a) here the user should be able to update the progress made on the project 4) close the praject a) it may be a success - great work b) it could not be done due to so and so reason 5) do a post mortem and apply the learnings for other prajects. these prajects can also expand to public - private collaborations, - like a recent chennai initiative to fill up the pot holes. A Summary page can be present where you could show the open projects and also status of the closed projects. Basically something like a source forge for social projects.
tsubba's picture

projects

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92 users have liked.
Thats very good idea and a good set of features. my two paisas. it is important for us to develop a commonly developed knowledge base about various aspects of the city. there are many different aspects like lakes, slum development, power reforms, water, sewage, trees etc that cannot be caught by rss feeds such as this and this. the primary sources for such information is news items and perhaps books on these issues. we need more participation in collecting such information. we read a article on some site, then perhaps we cut and paste the article and provide a link. if there is book, perhaps post a brief summary or some relevant parts of it and give the name of the book, author so that others can get the book.
City.Zen's picture

A Small Idea

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97 users have liked.
A Great Idea ! Signboard at St. John's Hospital OPD: A small idea properly implemented is better than a thousand big but unimplemented ideas. All the best, Praja and Thampan! - City Zen
City Zen
blrsri's picture

register as an org.?

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92 users have liked.
can we register as an organisation and then meet the seretaries/officials under a banner and make presentations..compelling ones at that!
s_yajaman's picture

RTI as a key element

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89 users have liked.
I think RTI is the single most powerful tool that has been given to the Indian citizen to fight for his rights. We ought to use this to the hilt. It is inexpensive and can be used to gather all the data we need to file a PIL for example. I want to gather data to show the systematic neglect of pedestrians in our city. If each of us files a RTI application each week, it will show that we mean business. I have read cases where ration cards and passports were magically issued and roads completed when a RTI application was filed. I have been visiting various government websites to get the names of their Public Information Officers - BDA, KSPCB, BBMP. I have also got the progress reports from the BBMP on JNURM projects, the commisioner's budget speech, etc. This can be a starting point for asking questions. the main thing to keep in mind is to ask fact/data based questions. E.g. how uch money has been allocated for tarring roads in Whitefield? how much has been spent? Which roads have been tarred? Who was the contractor? Who inspected the work before the payment was released, etc etc? None of these questions are in the realm of opinions (e.g. why does Sarakki lake smell bad)? I will send the pdf files I have collected thus far to Silkboard and Tarle. Tarle - will need your help in translating a Kannada pdf from the BBMP website (thought the filename is english.pdf!!!). We can use data from these files to start seeking information on progress made, etc etc. I could not get the PIO for the Bangalore City Police. If someone has it it will be great. Thanks, Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

blrsri's picture

Nail BBMP

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93 users have liked.
BBMP is know for its notoriety, there are bills raised/cleared for asphalting roads where the road has not been touched at all! Instead of RTI, why cant the BBMP make their working transparent and put up all the details about asphalting etc on thier web site..make it an interactive site like the one the traffic ppl have! I had been to vyalikaval the other day and I could see those roads not being touched for years..so many potholes etc and I am sure the same roads have been billed for being asphalted many times over!
s_yajaman's picture

Nail BBMP through RTI

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97 users have liked.
BlrSri, It is precisely because they do not work transparently that RTI is needed. If all the departments were transparent and corruption free then we would not have been in this royal mess. Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

tsubba's picture

consumers/chronicle

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103 users have liked.
two paises on citizens as consumers. apart from being consumers of city services we are also consumers of serives provided by private agencies. so perhaps SB's petrol bunk herapheri type of discussions are a natural part of this. product reviews perhaps not, but if you see any hotel serving up a disaster perhaps it should be taken up. sri...sure send me the stuff. also use the blog/forum to chronicle what ever you have done so far. if it comes as a part of a discussion then a comment is fine, but if you are doing something and there is no discussion on that go ahead create the content. "this is what i am going through- and so far this what i have found". perhaps folks here can give you interesting pointers.
Naveen's picture

Great Ideas !

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99 users have liked.
All these are excellent suggestions for Praja to function more effectively, & I wish to participate too. However, having seen the way Indian cities have evolved, particularly Bangalore, I am not sure if anything will help restore it to it's past glory, if not at least make it efficient & something to be proud of. I had seen a documentary earlier about Shanghai - some of the city districts were emptied, 'prajas' given alternate temporary accommodation, infrastructure built (roads, power & water utilities, sewerage /drains, telephone, etc) & people moved back into new wards - the result is there to be seen - Shanghai now resembles some of the best organized cities in the world. Roads even have separate lanes for wheelchair, bicycles & pedestrians, apart from green strips! Here, the bicycle has all but disappeared, road vehicles compete savagely between one another for road space, traffic signals are being flouted routinely, footpaths are fast disappearing with road widening, whilst pedestrians are being seen more & more as intrusions. BBMP had promised capsule lifts for pedestrian road over bridges - whatever happened to these ? Perhaps this is also a subject for RTI.
thampan's picture

site refuses to open up

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100 users have liked.
When i go to the link bangalore.praja.in, the site opens up and then suddenly shuts down. It goes to page not available. I can access the site via ( bangalore.praja.in/blog/admin) Is it my problem ( i browse from behind a firewall) or praja site issue ?
blrsri's picture

videos the culprit?

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106 users have liked.
I face this too..think this is to do with the embeded video's..firefox loads but shows the plugin not being installed..IE crashes.. As a work around, I use bookmarks of pages without videos to get in!
shas3n's picture

Linked the video

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106 users have liked.
Thanks for bringing this up. Firefox works alright but IE has (known) issues with embeded objects. While we try to see if something can be done about it, I would now remove the video and just put a link instead. -Shastri

-Shastri

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