While celebrating the second anniversary of the Central government's citizen-engagement platform launched by the NDA government – MyGov.in – on August 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that a responsible grievance redressal system is pivotal in delivering the promise of good governance in a democracy.
Sushma Swaraj's and Suresh Prabhu's Twitter engagement is a testament to Modi's words.
Though public consultation is a very good idea in principle, three problems continue to hinder the process:
• Whether or not suggestions are taken seriously by authorities is still doubtful.
• The portal had attracted 3.61 million users. But in a country of 1.2 billion people, this number is very small. Currently, Facebook boasts greater number of users from India, i.e., 43,497,980 (>43Million)
• "Opinions are like a**holes. Everybody's got one and everyone thinks everyone else's stinks." [The Dead Pool (1988), Home for the Holidays (1995)]
Recently, MyGov.in, which has been holding regular discussions on various topics on its website, invited the public's ideas on "improving the performance of India in Olympics and other mega sports events commensurate with its size and potential."
The majority of Indians who participated in this discussion would probably disagree with Irish comedian David o'Doherty, who, while performing 'How Lance Armstrong ruined everything', had said: "The true definition of sports is people trying very hard to accomplish pointless tasks."
Just as the nation had erupted into a discussion about what's holding back Indian athletes from winning at the Olympics after Shobha De's tweets created a furore, MyGov.in included many serious suggestions from concerned citizens.
The responses had comprehensive solutions that included improving infrastructure, funding and sponsorship, encouraging indigenous talent, removing bureaucratic and political influence and nepotism from sporting institutions. Some other not very comprehensive ideas included banning cricket, legalising betting, encouraging yoga, etc.
And then there were some that were completely ridiculous and somewhat concerning:
Like this man who suggests astrology as a way to improve medal count at Olympics and also slyly makes a plug for his website.
It is truly admirable that some people are using India's abysmal performance at the Olympics to simply make a buck.
A peculiar observation that one can make scrolling through the 500 comments on this forum is how many of these messages are addressed to Narendra Modi. Though some are hilarious and even delusional, others make you wonder if he or anybody is indeed listening.
The one that started it all. Kudos to Vineet Kumar!
Those who were confused about the topic of the forum:
Presumably an anti-masturbation public service announcement:
Yes, he believes semen is god!
These weird ones that kinda give a racist touch and may sound contradictory. I guess some races and ethnicities can't live in 'hilly areas'
And finally, those who said exactly what was on our minds.