Monday, 9 September 2013

I - Power: Using Crowd Support, Not Bribes, to Redress Public Grievances

People feel powerless when Governments fail to act on their grievances. I-Power will be a game changer. I-Power web + mobile platform will provide people with legal tools and crowd support to resolve their public grievances quickly. No more bribes! Most people in developing countries are hesitant to engage with governments. They do not trust government officials to act honestly and quickly to resolve their public grievances. Lacking other options, many end up paying bribes, using middlemen or currying favours for government officials to get their work done quickly. Those who do not, because of their ethics or financial situation, are deprived of redress. This raises the cost of engaging with governments for everyone, and penalises those who do not pay bribes. Surely there has to be a better way to engage with governments?
Enter the I-Power platform: I-Power is an easy to use web and mobile platform, aimed at redressing Public Grievances in a legal and assured manner. I-Power team researches the legal options available to citizens to redress their grievances, and lists them on its platform in simple language (sans legal and bureaucratic jargon). It provides step-by-step application procedure which can be completed on the platform. The main legal options the I-Power platform will be fine tuned to, are: 1. Immediate appellate authorities 2. Ombudsman 3. Freedom of Information / Right to Information 4. E-Petitions I-Power will draw upon the support of the crowd and platform users to keep its legal options database updated. HOW IT WORKS? A person with a public grievance decides not to pay bribes and comes to I-Power: 1. Login: She logs in, selects her location and narrows down the specific government department / service against which she has a grievance. 2. Get Options : I-Power platform researches its database and displays all the legal options that are available to her. Eg: filing complaint with ombudsman or requesting information under the freedom of information act. 3. Get Recommended Option: I-Power recommends the most appropriate option to start with, based on success of previous cases and suggestions of other users who have filed similar cases. 4. Build your Network: She gets introduced to other people who have filed similar complaints or are planning to do so, and gives her strength. 5. Get Crowd Support: Once she proceeds ahead, she will draw support from the crowd, including NGOs, upright government officials, media, and other common men and women who have registered themselves to act as “friends of citizen”. The user will have the ultimate control on who she wants to include in her Case Team (as co-applicants or as supporters) and what level of access to information they will have. The Outcome: "Public Servants" get back to serving the Public The effectiveness of this platform lies in the deterrence effect, where public officials realize that citizens have knowledge of the legal means, an easy way to exercise them and the support of the crowd, and will not hesitate to use any or all the options available to them to get their grievances resolved. I-Power will empower people. No longer will public servants treat public as their servants to further their personal interests. Instead I-Power will ensure "public servants" get back to serving the public. What is your project? [1 sentence max] I-Power is a an easy to use web and mobile based platform which allows people to redress their public grievances by making use of available legal options and the support of crowd and other like-minded citizens, instead of paying bribes. Where are you located? Delhi, India How did you hear about the contest? Email from Knight Foundation Twitter source:

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