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” It is one of the questions Upadhyay, 43 founder of Ask How India a new election-oriented content website wants to ask politicians As the educated Indian’s unease with politics melts away making way for meaningful dialogue with candidates and elected representatives several brand-new startups are positioning themselves in the space between citizenry and leadership They occupy the intersection of political activism outreach and data science to help voters make informed choices as well as connect with their leaders With well-researched “capsules” on urban development power and other issues Upadhyay’s website is an attempt at improving the quality of public debate in India Tired of the platitudes in party manifestos he decided to help voters pose the right questions to their representatives Upadhyay and his team —eight seasoned professionals in infrastructure banking and management who moonlight as writers and data analysts for Ask How—spoke to over two dozen thought leaders who agreed that “the question to ask is not if an elected leader will tackle inflation corruption and job creation but how” Deepa Kumar 23 started asking these questions early A political science graduate and a former fellow of the Legislative Assistant to Member of Parliament (LAMP) programme run by PRS Legislative Research in Delhi Kumar worked with Rajya Sabha MP Rajiv Chandrasekhar before founding GrassRoute India This non-partisan startup aims at increasing interaction between political representatives and citizens especially on online platforms in June 2013 “The idea is to bridge the dialogue gap and improve the quality of discourse” says Kumar who has organised Google Hangouts and Twitter chats with Milind Deora (Congress) Somnath Bharti (AAP) Jayaprakash Narayan (Lok Satta) Baijayant Jay Panda (BJD) and Kavita Krishnan (CPI-ML) among others Each of the 14 sessions addressed issues trending on or crowdsourced from social media — youth participation in politics ensuring good governance Section 377 voting rights for the armed forces transparency in election funding racism against people from the Northeast etc — and saw 45-50 citizens engage directly with a legislator and stakeholders like lawyers and civil society organisations “Social media analytics tells us that we have been able to reach about 88 lakh people with a single hour-long session” says Kumar GrassRoute facilitates these sessions for free but often politicians with an eye on the polls want to reach a larger audience “When they are looking to target X number of people we charge for the service In a way they are outsourcing the outreach to us” says Kumar Her team based in Mumbai can rustle up a session in a week “For young people GrassRoute offers a different way to engage with the system Politicians have been very encouraging They want professional services and after all they cannot ignore the change in the wind” says Kumar The startup is an offbeat route to politics for her But before she is ready to contest an election she wants to perfect and promote mpConnect an app by GrassRoute that has seen 1500 downloads on Android and iOS “Through the app voters can look up the contact details of the MP from their constituency — email phone number etc — and engage directly with him or her” she says Pune-based engineer Krushnaal Pai’s Android app NetaG is yet another effort to bridge the gap between voters and political leaders Pai 25 wanted citizens to be able to engage directly with their corporator or MLA about civic and other issues “Most urban Indians own a smartphone If they chance upon a pothole over-flowing garbage bins rabid dogs or a water shortage issue all they have to do is click a photograph upload it on NetaG and fill in the details about the problem The app tracks and ‘pins’ the location to help with the process” says Pai who is now promoting the free app among local politicians “Even now not every neta is tech-savvy” he says But for many young voters the conversation around elections has already moved online says Nirbheek Chauhan a Bangalore-based freelance software developer who launched an election information website called The Ballot last August along with graphic designer Pooja Saxena The Ballot presents data in an easy less-intimidating form “Many young people don’t own a TV today they consume all their information on the Web” says the 24-year-old As innovators try and blend online and offline worlds through the ubiquitous mobile phone politicians are seeking data and analytics like never before says Naman Pugalia who co-manages Bangalore South’s Congress candidate Nandan Nilekani’s high-tech campaign During his stint with Google — he recently resigned from the company — he helped coax Milind Deora Shashi Tharoor Sheila Dikshit Narendra Modi P Chidambaram and other leaders to communicate through Hangouts “Our pitch to them would always work because of the monitoring that was possible Governments are used to disseminating information but if they could see who was watching the videos and from where that piques their interest” he says In one of the most watched battles in the impending Lok Sabha polls Infosys co-founder and former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nilekani is taking on five-time MP Ananth Kumar of the BJP with a massive state-of-the-art campaign Early on Pugalia 27 and his team decided to run the campaign like a startup “We picked up best practices from the world and combined them with qualitative insight to build an end-to-end technology platform to manage the campaign analyse data and post-elections to monitor the constituency” he says The platform will be made open source after the elections so other contestants can benefit from it says Pugalia Voterite India’s first social network for voters and candidates targets the problem of influencing the 100 million Indians on social media to vote When Vikram Nalagampalli the 34-year-old vice-president of Cinergy Technology a US-and-India-based technology consulting company moved back to Bangalore last year he quickly realised that “for the first time the educated urban populace could have a big say” in how the country will come to be governed Even at a time when political campaigns on social media have reached fever pitch the “likes” and the support that candidates garner will not necessarily translate into votes says Nalagampalli This is where the website which went live in November 2013 and was used by Aam Aadmi Party candidates for the Delhi elections comes into the picture Essentially Voterite is a peer-to-peer campaign platform that allows voters to endorse a candidate of their choice among their social media connections “Voterite is built on the principle that we are influenced by our friends on social media If two or three of them ask us to vote for a particular candidate and list out the reasons why there is a fair chance that we will give it some thought” says Nalagampalli According to him the network has about 30000 registered users who in turn can potentially “influence” 38 crore voters Voterite is working with 60 candidates to set up their profile pages embedded with pictures curated videos and campaign messages The self-funded venture aims to make money by selling analytics to politicians —demographics trending issues information on top campaigners — and will not run any political ads says Nalagampalli Accountability is perhaps the deepest fault line in Indian politics where poll-time promises often gather dust I For India is an ambitious MP and MLA ratings website that wants to change this Ankur Garg 31 who worked in business intelligence for Microsoft till September 2012 and Tarun Jain a business analyst joined hands last year to launch the platform where citizens can rate their political representatives on parameters categorised into basic needs (electricity water transport education healthcare) governance and administration (law and order inflation poverty) growth and progress (traffic roads jobs tourism development) and reputation (scams women’s empowerment religious harmony) “The idea is to have at least one rating for every 50000 people in the constituency” says Garg Three lakh people have visited I For India till date and 25000 have registered by providing a valid mobile number Only registered users are allowed to rate MPs and MLAs In the years to come startups will play a major role in plugging gaps in democracy says Garg “Large corporates tend to shy away from politics Startups have no such baggage” Both Voterite and I For India are looking to raise funds after the elections but Garg says venture capital is not easy to come by in the newly-minted political technology space Surabhi HR the young woman behind Bangalore-based venture Political Quotient a political internship programme and consultancy agrees The 23-year-old started out last year with Rs 20000 and went on to raise Rs 2 lakh from her uncles “You have to work with the system and not against it” says Surabhi who worked with several politicians including Krishna Byre Gowda (Congress) Ananth Kumar (BJP) and Captain Gopinath (AAP) before she went on to found her startup “We (a team of five) are currently working with three legislators in Karnataka to help them connect better with their constituency We take up short-term consulting contracts wherein we do field research train their assistants in outreach and public relations and develop technology solutions like a call centre that people can call to learn about government schemes” she says To take on other technological challenges ahead of the elections Venturesity a Bangalore company that works in online skill development is organising a two-day hackathon on March 29-30 in partnership with Intel to “get the vote out get the voice out” “In a country where more people have reliable access to cellphones than electricity can you build something to get the vote out In a country where progress happens before the elections can you build something that will enable people to get their voice heard every day These are the specific challenges technologists will address” says Prashant Koirala founder of Venturesity Techies from across India have expressed great interest he says “In two weeks we have received over 120 applications” says Koirala 31 “We expect some of them to be quickly turned into products before the elections” With inputs from Prajakta Hebbar For all the latest India News download Indian Express App More Related News Yogesh Upadhyay, West Bengal and neighbouring Bhutan at 6. India Meteorological Department officials said the quake shook Assam,” says the web page when a person from Pakistan tries to access it. Sonia said it was a matter of concern whether the country’s democracy would be safe in the hands of such people. The BSP leader also sought concrete efforts from the government to bring back Indians lodged in Pakistani jails.” she said, 2015 1:36 am Related News Under fire for seeking disenfranchisement of Muslims in India and following division in his own party over his remarks, I only said Muslims would not be used for political opportunism if they were not allowed to vote.

2013 2:38 pm Related News Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari,” Bukhari claimed that Khan had nothing to do with people and “Muslims hate the SP leader and don’t like him. He, Last week (June 15) a Barnala court found sufficient evidence to issue summons to the PPS officer to stand trial in a 11-year-old forgery case. and that he procured 80 sticks of gelatin to engineer the bomb blasts — one exploded near the state Assembly building, 2015 7:22 pm Top News As the Mizoram Police continues to slap up to a dozen additional charges against three arrested HPCD militants — including it’s “Army Chief” Lalropuia Famhoite and “Finance Secretary” Norbar Sanate — it has emerged that two men who admitted to planting and exploding at least five bombs that rocked state capital Aizawl on the militant group’s behest last year have been acquitted on a technicality and the state government has not yet appealed against their acquittal. “There was no contract with them at the defence ministry level, the minister said no contract was signed with the two actors and they were merely invited to the event. A Project Steering Committee and a Project Implementation Committee would be set up to ensure that the project is implemented on time.A comprehensive training module would be put in place to train all users of this application Digitization of legacy data would be undertaken to ensure continuity The main highlights of this application is that all government files would be processed and decisions taken electronically by using digital signatures by all decision makers File tracking system would ensure speedy decision making and transparency in decisions will be ensured Share This Article Related Article The decision was taken during a high level official meetingn chaired by Chief Secretary Shakuntala Gamlin here yesterday Earlier the team from National Informatics Centre Delhi made a detailed presentation of the “e-Office Suite”- a successful government office solution developed by NIC The application in addition to the file management system also has provision for Knowledge Management System e-Leave e-Tour e-Service book Information Management System and Collaboration and Messaging Services the release added For all the latest India News download Indian Express App More Top News the Arunachal Pradesh government is all set to go paperless.

Devnani said Muslim groups’ opposition to the Surya Namaskar stemmed from confusion. “Even the Supreme Court has upheld that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life.demanded that the Cente take action against a BJP-linked outfit for “brazenly misusing” government offices, “I am sure that you would strongly convey to the BJP and its affiliates that they should not misuse such government initiatives/programmes for their own partisan propaganda. “NSG: How to lose a negotiation by Narendra Modi #FailedModiDiplomacy” The Congress leadership also slammed the Prime Minister for the ‘public tamasha’ over getting an entry into the 48-country elite group. so that India can get an entry into the NSG group, Sharma said that petroleum prices which were hovering around 125 dollars per barrel have crashed to 55-66 dollars per barrel but the NDA government has not passed on the benefit to the consumers but earned Rs 62, Modi government is taking credit for JAM (Jandhan, appearing for Narain, who sought direction to the Centre for filling up post from SP-level to that of the CBI director on the recommendation of the committee as mandated under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE)Act.

The Small Tanneries Association says buyers are not approaching them anymore saying their shops could be raided any day. says he himself has a leather tannery business and is aware of the problems faced by traders. Since then,”? however.

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