Checkbook Transparency Government Websites
If voted to power, we will implement Citizen-Verifiable Transparency Government websites having details of Public Fund Spending as described below. And even if not in power, we will pressurise the officials with the help of support of masses to implement these kind of citizen-verifable websites
A. Introduction and problem
Today, the citizens pay tax money and with that tax money, the expenses of administration and court get paid. And the citizens have to evaluate the work of the officials. Where there is any wrongdoing, they have to report so that the wrong-doer can be stopped. But any citizen or any activist can only properly evaluate things when there is sufficient information in public. But it is often seen that Indian public cannot access this information easily. Only way is to undergo travails of RTI and even that does not guarantee that correct info will be given or will be given at all.
Let us see an example –
In 2015, a RTI application was files in which was asked how much the Government spent on case in which Salman Khan was alleged to have trampled people under his car. Reply came that in 2012, the concerned files got burnt, that is why this information cannot be given !! And the government was unable to re-gather and get this information !! Besides this, the criminal elements harass or even kill the RTI activists in order to suppress the information.
Let us see one more example –
Today, it is very common that a road is made and after few years, the road gets broken since inferior quality material was used for the road construction. Due to the potholes in the road, accidents occur and people die. Public does not know to whom the road construction tender was given and which official inspected the road construction or the payment was released by which officials to the contractor. And without this the activist / citizens are unable to stop corruption.
Indian public cannot access this information easily. Only way is to undergo travails of RTI and even that does not guarantee that correct info will be given or will be given at all.
Other countries people can easily access lot of information and thus can make useful decisions for themselves and the country. Same is not the case with Indian public. So, Indians are forced to either remain indecisive or become andh-bhakts
In other countries like US, many states like Nebraska etc. show the voting details publicly, who voted for whom.
B. So what is the solution ?
One short term solution , that is which the officials at any level can implement is to make transparent government websites in which public can see what work was done by the officials, which official approved payment to which contractor. And all this information should be easily searchable by any citizen by entering the name of the official or contactor or a date and the citizen should be easily be able to download this information.
This kind of website, if made, citizens do not have to beg to ask for any kind of government record nor do they have to lose their lives. Today, the citizens cannot find out whether the evidence or statement given by them is not destroyed after one day or one month or few months. But if these kind of transparency government websites are made, possibility of suppressing evidences / statements almost becomes zero. Officials will see that it is not possible to easily suppress the evidences since now the evidences are visible to lakhs-crores and easily searchable / downloadable by anyone. And the criminal elements will also understand that the evidences are now public – so harassing / killing the witnesses is useless. So, when the evidences do not get suppressed, the area for which such website is made, will see reduction in crime and corruption.
See an example how checkbook expenses can be shown –
C. What the activists can do to bring these systems and laws and reduce corruption and crime in short time in their area and in the whole country
1. Voter number / address support collected on a piece of paper and photo put on internet and shared –
Because it is easier for activists / citizens to work together with others in their district rather than at state / national level, all activists and Citizens can demand similar website from officials of their area. The activists should collect Voter number (or address if one does not have Voter number) support for these demands on a piece of paper and scan and display the Voter number support. Adding Voter number or address makes the displayed data citizen-veriable. Citizen-verifiable means that any citizen can take a sample of data, get their contact address and contact and cross-verify the data. Thus, citizens can prevent falsehood from being presented as truth.
Below is a sample campaign for demanding website for transparency in road construction and repair from municipal commissioner –
We, the residents of ____ (your city name), demand from the Commissioner of (your city name) to make a website and put the following details regarding the construction and repair of roads in (your city name) so that citizens can keep watch on the quality of roads –
1. Contract bids and Contractors info : Contracts were given on what basis to whom along with name of deciding officer
2. Counter Pad info of all Cheque-books issued for government expenditure – name of officer who passed the expenditure
3. Past Contracts — Contracts and expenditures from previous fiscal years must be included on the website according to previously told details.
4. More powerful searches: Tracking Contractor specific payments made easier for residents so they can now easily search for the Contractor’s location, the month the payment was awarded, which officer passed the payment or inspected the materials used in road construction or easily distinguish grants from contracts.
5. Detailed Report of inspection of sample of materials used in the road – name of officers who conducted the inspection
If you support this demand, please put your name and Voter number (or address if you do not have Voter number) below on this paper. This will be put on internet publicly so that others can contact and cross-verify the data and the government officials cannot escape via transfer etc. means and will have to implement this. If sufficient number of Voter number supports are displayed, wherever the government officials go, the citizens will ask them to give a good reason why they have not acted when thousands / lakhs of people are demanding this.
Also, please call / sms Municipal Commissioner of (your city name) (mobile number – _____) and instruct him regarding these demands.
Serial number Name Voter number / Address
2. Calling / sending SMS to the concerned officials like Municipal commissioner etc. in large numbers
3. Twitter accounts can be created having Voter number or address in twitter profileand appropriate tweets to concerned officials can be sent with appropriate links and hashtags.
4. Opinion displayed publicly via SMS along with Voter number – SMS can also be collected and displayed along with Voter number. For demo, see smstoneta.com
5. Videos having these demands along with Voter number /address – Activists can also make and upload videos mentioning these demands, their voter number or address.
For detailed proposal for our transparent website, please see – fb.com/notes/697254966960174
For more information please join –