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Revolution in transparency in governance in US

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As you may be aware, Obama started a priority Open Government Initiative with website at "It increases the ability of the public to easily find, download, and use datasets that are generated and held by the Federal Government."

This comes with the principal that all information should be easily available to public by default rather than going through RTI etc.

The beauty of this initiative is that all information is published with latest web 2.0 technologies in mind so that anyone can write applications to process/display use the information in any way they like. A good set of applications are already available at as part of the competition.

Some recent applications are:

1. Adding Political Context to USA Federal Spending

2. Understand US Government economic statistics through easy interactive charts

3. Fund Flows Visualizer for comparing government procurements by geographic area.

4. Local Spending Find out how much federal money is being spent at your current location...

And lots of applications are being added to this everyday!

I think this approach is really revolutionary in terms of accountability of government.

Hope we start similar initiative in addition to National Identity Card project.

Sanjay Chitnis


Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Let us look at transparency w.r.t Indian scenario

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US under Obama is doing its best to tackle their problem and government itself has become proactive to invite citizens and others to suggest ways and means to achieve this goal.

Since the present government has a clear mandate, it can now dare to bring in the much delayed electoral reforms and usher in a semblence of transparency and accountability and plug the loopholes and the systemic failures.

My take: Yes we can - as Obama says, with conditions attached. If we keep drooling in ifs, buts, hows, whens, there can never be a beginning.  Time to act - 

Why there is avoidable delay in bringing in electoral reforms? Who is holding up the suggestions made by well known analysts like Mr.L.K.Jain and a host of others to create a transparent and accountable political system and a better vibrant society?
It is time for citizens to stem the rot and  the decay that has crept into our system before it is too late before it eats the core of democracy. All of us must become proactive, ensure participatory democracy and insist with one voice to bring in legislations by amending the terms, conditions, acts, rules, codes, constitutional provisions etc., for a transparent and accountable political system.  India needs to enact electoral reforms without further delay.

A few suggestions are given below:
(1) Enact Election Reforms that are long overdue - Election Commission and others political analysts Mr.LK Jain etc., have forwarded enough recommendations to the Government of India to take further action but the powerful political lobbies have been scuttling the issue whenever the subject is broached  – let there be a beginning in some form or the other.
(2) Amend the Peoples Representation Act and Election Rules pertaining to eligibility of persons for contesting for elections
(3) Prescribe a minimum educational qualification
(4) No person with criminal background should be allowed to contest - needs elucidation
(5) Make voting compulsory - consider levy of fine say 1 per cent on electricity/water bill for not voting or
(6) Consider giving incentive - say 2 per cent reduction in electricity/water bill 
(7) Strengthen the existing election provisions pertaining to ‘Recall’ of the unfit by making the process simpler
........ Prajegalu may like to add their recommendations....

Citizens must become proactive with participatory democracy to ensure that their names exist in the electoral list (the mother of all frauds?), go to the booths and cast their constitutional right of exercising their franchise without fail and create a majority voters rule without creating a hung verdict that allows unscrupulous elected representatives to hop, skip or jump, horse trading, unholy alliances or ‘live-in’ arrangements.

Let us resolve to vote to the ‘least criminal’ with the condition that if he fails to come up to the expectations of the voters, he will have the option of stepping down voluntarily by surrendering the excess baggage he has collected during offices of political profit or being recalled through simple process by the voters of his constituency.

Present day young voters are raring for a change for a coherent corruptionless better system of governance; let them not get disenchanted with the archaic poll norms and abstain from taking active part in the poll process.

It is now or never. Let us change and let us be the change we want to see. Yes We Can.

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