From restaurants to movies, to apps, to smartphones, to online purchases, we rate everything in our world today. So why not our politicians? An important aspect of a growing democracy is the ability to speak up openly about the political representatives of the country, and the Neta or National Electoral Transformation app is aimed at just that.
A unique concept, the success or failure of which could potentially help analyse the state of the Indian democracy, Neta, will allow its users to engage with the politics of the country by rating MPs and MLAs of their areas. These political representatives will get report cards viewable by all and users of the app will be able to see their profiles, income, financial liabilities, and criminal records (if any). The app rewards users by giving points for voting, posting issues, commenting on polls and more. Based on the points, one can become a ‘Star Citizen’.
The app also allows new leaders to get traction and present themselves to political parties as possible electoral candidates. “Anyone who is interested in fighting an election can be featured in the app by gathering 1000 votes from their constituents,” say the makers of the Neta app. Leader will have to contact the app admin to get their profiles listed on the platform.
Besides rating new and existing political leaders, the app also enables users to post grievances, polls, and anonymous comments. Any politician can offer a solution to people’s problems and users can also devote a leader if they are unsatisfied with the redressal of their complaint.
The app can even act as an important psephology tool to determine the political mood in the country before an election. However, it remains to be seen how the app will maintain objectivity and avoid fake upvoting of politicians by those with ulterior political motives. At the event, Pratham Mittal, the 27-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate who came up with the app, claimed that the it filters fake votes through advanced AI-driven algorithms and comparison with voter rolls.
The Neta app was launched on Android and iOS today, at an event held at former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee’s residence. Also present at the event were Former Chief Election Commissioners, SY Quraishi and Nasim Zaidi, along with serving Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal.
Introducing the app at the event, Mittal, said, “The world’s largest democracy deserves a platform where we as voters can rate our politicians and question them. We are looking at 100 million users on the platform before 2019 elections.”
The Neta app will be available in 16 languages and according to the app makers, it has already registered votes from 1.5 crore verified voters across 543 parliamentary constituencies and 4120 assembly constituencies in the past eight months of the app’s beta run. In order to ensure participation across demographics, the Neta app uses multiple mediums like apps, IVR calls, SMS, and even offline activations with the help of Aashawadi and Aanganwadi workers to gather data.