A survey by Omidyar Network has highlighted an urgent need for innovation in civic technology – technology that enables citizens to engage with the government and/or each other in order to drive participation in public decision-making processes and improve delivery of services.
80 per cent respondents are open to technology solutions to solve civic issues
Mumbai, India, August 2, 2018 – A survey by Omidyar Network has highlighted an urgent need for innovation in civic technology – technology that enables citizens to engage with the government and/or each other in order to drive participation in public decision-making processes and improve delivery of services.
Infrastructural support, efficient waste management and traffic control were identified as the top three areas for civic tech intervention. The survey also highlighted that 74 per cent of respondents see civic tech as an aid to increased citizen engagement and participation with the administrative bodies. Overall findings from the survey highlight a massive opportunity for both, entrepreneurs and investors alike, to innovate and create impact in this space.
The key to unlocking India’s potential of citizen involvement in helping solve critical civic issues lies in developing innovative initiatives in civic tech. The survey found that 80 per cent of respondents believe that the adoption of technology will enhance the quality of life across communities. Respondents also correlate the improvement of service delivery with the presence of a direct line of communication with the government and administrative authorities.
Roopa Kudva, partner, Omidyar Network, elaborated on the study’s findings, “The survey overwhelmingly illustrates a gap in the delivery of public services. There are interesting differences between what citizens in different cities identify as the top opportunity for intervention – safety in Delhi, pollution in Bengaluru and condition of roads in Mumbai. Nevertheless, across cities, respondents show an increasing desire for technology to bridge the divide. With India’s “Next Half Billion” first-time internet users expected to come online via their mobile phones in the next five years — a plethora of possibilities will open up for entrepreneurs and investors to build technology-led businesses that improve civic services for citizens.”
In order to develop and drive this emerging sector, Omidyar Network, in collaboration with venture development firm, Village Capital, announced the first of the shortlisted ventures of the Civic Tech India 2018 Accelerator program. The program will train and support an inclusive community of entrepreneurs, investors and mentors to assist participating ventures develop early-stage civic engagement initiatives to address civic issues. The accelerator has seen more than 100 applicants. Of these, 14 applicants have now been shortlisted for further training through workshops and cohorts to help advance their initiatives and create impact at scale. The selected ventures are looking to develop civic technology products and services across multiple sectors such as water management, waste management, government operations and mobility. The 2018 cohort includes:
1. Fluid Robotic (Water management)
2. Haqdarshak (Citizen service delivery)
3. Banyan Nation (Waste management) 4. Right2Vote (Government operations)
5. Reap Benefit (Citizen Engagement)
6. RoadBounce (Data collection & utility
7. Akara Research (Data collection & utility)
8. CrimeCheck (Data collection & utility)
9. Zippr (Citizen service delivery)
10. Faclon Labs (IoT Platform)
11. GARV Toilets (Sanitation)
12. EmpowerU (Public education)
13. RECITY (Citizen Engagement, Waste Management)
14. ValetEZ (Mobility)
Speaking about the program, Deepak Menon, regional director of emerging markets at Village Capital, stated, “If we’re going to solve the issues that Indians grapple with every day, we’ll need the help of both the public and private sector. This program is an exciting evolution of our past programs in India, focused on sectors such as education, health and financial inclusion, which are inextricable from civic life.”
“In India, the time is now ripe for a multi-pronged approach to building the country’s civic tech ecosystem. The identification of the massive opportunity for civic tech in India will draw an increasing number of entrepreneurs, investors, citizens, and government partners into developing and establishing technology-led solutions aimed at creating world class civic management solutions in the country,” added Bharath Visweswariah, director, Omidyar Network.