DailyPost 1750

As you move further in this modern world and more so in the COVID-19 world, we are witnessing the further aggravation of an already broken economic model and resultant gross inequality.  Automation and centralization of money and power in tech platforms has added a new dimension to democratic system of governance which was already in crisis. Climate change has turned out to be a many-headed hydra,  we have not even been able to fathom out. The quality and opaqueness of governance cannot be left to the powers that be, has been the learning of the citizens at large so far.  Digital Social Transformation, DSI,  has the potential to set right a lot of these evils, though it is certainly not the panacea for all evils.

The “dark side of technology” is rapidly coming to light and the double-edged technology is showing up. The tech enabled data domination creating unassailable economic power is now crystal clear. For the progressive governments and enlightened and pro-active public, DSI offers an alternative to the dominant tech models, as it attempts to use technology as a force for good. DSI provides the scope to tackle social challenges at much better speed and scale than what was possible before the internet went into full bloom.  It also allows for transparency at scale rather than the RTI model which is creaky. It provides citizens much better control of the administrative machinations of the state. Instead of being a bystander, he is right there in  the muddle of the  governmental scheme of things.

Through this methodology the citizen is finally gaining more in control of himself. The best part is that ”it  provides the opportunity for civic renewal and forms of citizen collaboration fit for the twenty-first century.” As tech is at its core, DSI uses peer-to-peer platforms, citizen sensing and internet of things, crowdsourcing, apps, open data and many more. Depending on the requirements the technologies needed for that purpose are aligned. Though nascent in India by way of both citizen engagement and tech depth, DSI is slowly becoming a standard tool and methodology in Europe in areas of  education, healthcare, democracy, transparency & accountability, migration and many other areas. This should be the new format of CSR.

Charity and philanthropy have their own inherent limitations. The new age DSI is surging ahead. Some European examples would not be out of place.  Citizen Lab, has been successful in creating a platform for closer governance engagement.  Making Sense, an EU-funded project has helped in empowering people for better understanding of the environment and propel change. mySociety, a pioneering civic tech organisation, is in the process of making governments more transparent and accountable. ProZorro, has been fighting for more transparent procurement in Ukraine. It has been able to make some truly systemic changes.* The Fab City project and  WheelMap, which crowdsources information about accessibility of locations for wheelchair users* are a few more well-known DSI projects. These grounds would have remained uncovered but for DSI initiatives. Its time for governments and corporates alike pitch in for better, engaging and a more  enlightened democracy.


Sanjay Sahay

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Scroll to Top