On Oct 2nd, 2014, PM Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission, a clarion call for citizens to participate in the process of creating a clean India.
Narendra Modi’s words echoed the vision that we have been striving towards at SocialCops. We’ve always called for citizens to stop complaining and start contributing.
In 2012, as a college student in Singapore, I began my tryst with using mobiles and technology for change. The problems in the landscape became clear over our initial pilots – a lack of information from the grassroots and an incredibly fragmented space. A visit to the local municipal office revealed that, of the 300 safai karamcharis on roll, only around 190 had showed up in the past year. The ones who showed up were overworked and complained about the lack of cleaning materials – boots, uniforms and brooms. Citizens treated them harshly and dumped their household waste onto the road, expecting the karamcharis to pick up their garbage after them.
We spent months pondering the mounting garbage crisis in the country and devising models. It soon became clear that resources were scarce, and there was a lack of accountability due to the complex system and lack of grassroots data. Over multiple pilots, we tried and tested different theories. We found two models that worked consistently.
When citizens take ownership of their communities, there is sustainable impact.
In Ranchi, five students took the initiative to crowdsource reports of broken street lights. When presented in the right way, this data led to the mayor allocating 2.15 crore rupees to fixing street lights.
When crowdsourced data is used in sensible ways, systemic change happens.
Yes, the system lacks resources. But can we use existing resources more efficiently? Can we motivate the workforce to work to the best of their ability? We created citizen rating systems to rate street cleanliness. The workers responsible for the cleanest streets were awarded a “Best Karamchari Award”, leading to better motivation levels and attendance rates.
Merging these two models: ICleanIndia
SocialCops has been built on the tenets of using citizens, technology, and data to create large-scale impact. Today, we take this one step further by launching “ICleanIndia”, an application designed to bring together communities, citizens, nonprofits, and governments to create a cleaner country.
The ICleanIndia mobile application has been designed keeping the common man in mind — the common man who wants a cleaner country and would like to participate in change but doesn’t know where to start.
The mobile app will allow you to click photos of unclean spots in your locality and mark them on a map. Then you can fix the issue by organizing a cleanliness drive and inviting friends to join in. Conquer the mission of a Swachh Bharat by sharing your impact and inspiring other citizens to follow your footsteps.
Swachh Bharat 2019, here we come!