Big Ideas for India Contest: Question 3: How should the government-citizen engagement model be?

India has a federal structure of government, but that is increasingly getting centralised. Delhi has been deciding what is good for everyone, and creating policies for the states to implement. Is that the best model? What about the third-tier of government – at the corporation / panchayat level? Is that getting marginalised?

For the most part, Indian citizens’ involvement in government seems to begin and end with the ballot box. In urban areas, even that is not happening – as the pathetic voting percentages have shown. Other than the occasional candlelight vigil, there is little involvement that Middle India has in governance. So, is the result any surprise?

Given this, what should the new engagement model be? Can groups of citizens get more involved in local government? Can experts provide inputs to the various Bills being passed in Parliament – or is that best left to our elected representatives? What should the new model for government-citizen partnership be?

Contest Overview.