Rule of Thumb: Mobiles for Governance in India

Democracy & Governance | Mar, 2015

Mobile technology is being used to monitor elections, optimize traffic, discourage corruption, encourage citizen participation, pay bills, and democratize media. Deep mobile phone penetration and an enabling digital infrastructure can improve access to news and information. With close to a billion mobile phone connections and a Digital India campaign to connect every village by 2020, India’s mobile revolution offers an unprecedented opportunity to bring good governance to the farthest corners of the country. Dasra’s report, Rule of Thumb, lays out the key challenges and solutions, alongside the work of scalable and impactful social organizations for funder s’ consideration.

Several process and informational challenges to good governance are amenable to technology-based solutions, such as targeted SMS, auto payments, and existing process improvement and automation. It can also lower costs and enable greater citizen participation in governance. Rule of Thumb uses the World Bank’s six Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGIs) to classify mobile solutions used by social organizations to affect good governance. These are: voice and accountability; political stability and absence of violence; government effectiveness; regulatory quality; rule of law; and control of corruption.
The report also identifies a few key recommendations for new solutions. First, to actively consider UI/UX when designing solutions, and to factor affordability into all solutions. In addition, it recommends collaboration across the value chain to build the infrastructure and markets required; and policies to safeguard for data privacy and security concerns.

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