Does it annoy you when you accidentally drive over a pothole or when you see garbage littered on the streets? Even if you have grown up with these basic problems, it is not something you can get used to.
Now think…do you use facebook and twitter to get them resolved? Nope! We don’t…. simply because fb & twitter were not built for this specific purpose.
Back in 2007, there were local government elections held in Pune. I was standing outside the voting booth and was staring at the piece of a paper stuck on the wall. It was a simple list of all candidates but the only thing written on it was the name of the candidate and the name of their party. With this little piece of information I was thinking of whom to vote for, for a brief moment I felt ashamed for not knowing about them but I also learned that most of my friends were equally ignorant, some of them didn’t even bother to vote that day.
A month later I decided to do something about it. I built a prototype for a website but I did not like the idea of browsing through a politician’s profile. I mean, seriously… who does that? Not unless the person is a leader of a prominent party or an inspiration to many like Shri Narendra Modi. But what about the local corporators/councillors, nobody knows about them and yet most of the issues we face are being resolved by them or by the local municipal body.
Years passed by but I couldn’t find a neat solution to this problem
How do I bridge the communication gap between us and our politicians to exchange our views and get our issues resolved ?
In 2011, smartphones arrived in India and I bought one. I was fascinated to see its ability to capture location and picture, that was my eureka moment which hatched the plot for NetaG a year later. I was committed to my day job and was simultaneously working on another startup.
In December 2013, I quit my job and launched the first prototype of NetaG on Play Store. We got covered in the Indian Express, thanks to Garima Mishra (Feature Editor), the one who believed in me when all doors were shut.
However, the app did not take off as I had anticipated. IF YOU BUILD, THEY WON’T COME.
So I started talking to people directly to get their feedback and kept building to suit their needs (only if it aligns with our mission). After multiple failed prototypes I went into stealth mode and summed up all my learnings to relaunch an MVP in January 2015. It was relatively successful and caught the attention of multiple newspapers like TOI, Indian Express, Forbes, Zee News and Yourstory bit.ly/1K2VoQ3.
So what is NetaG? Well… to describe it one line
It is a location based smartphone app that connects you with politicians and government officials to get your civic issues resolved and helps you to share your views in an accountable and transparent manner.
What makes it awesome?
Easier than writing a tweet. Post in 3 seconds. It takes less than 40 characters (1/3rd of a tweet) to post your issue. For e.g. Bad Roads, Garbage Scattered, Stray Dogs, etc. You may optionally describe your problem in detail or add pictures of the problem.
What happens next ? Once you post your issue, the respective politicians of that area will start working on your issue and will keep you updated about their current status. They will notify you if the issue gets resolved and also attach a proof of their work. You must then verify and close the issue.
Chat with politicians While your issue gets resolved, you can openly chat with these politicians to discuss about your issue. Psssss….. this is probably the first time you would be chatting with a politician and you’ll love to hear their response …. I guarantee you, your perception about your politicians will change completely 🙂
Be Anonymous Probably the best thing about NetaG is that you will remain anonymous on this app forever. Yeah…you heard that right… no one can find out who you are, what you do or where you live. So feel free to post your issues and chat with your politicians bindaas.
No Friend/Follower Concept We are not a social network. You don’t have to connect with a politician to share your views or get issues resolved. All the magic happens automatically behind the scenes.
In January 2015, a seventy year old uneducated women wrote about her problem in Marathi without anyone’s support, within 5 days her problem was resolved by the local corporator. To learn more about this issue, download the app and open this link – www.netag.info/issue/144 or search for Issue #144 in the app.
From simple issues like street lights, potholes, garbage littered to dealing with complex issues like removing illegal mobile cell towers & pan shops from school vicinity, politicians are actively monitoring and resolving issues to aid common citizens. With around 4000 users and more than 35% issues resolved, citizens as well as politicians are making the best use of our platform to engage and make a change.
We are one of the ‘Top Ten Hot Tech Startups’ selected by Nasscom & Facebook. https://on.fb.me/1TqnhbL. For our innovative approach, we got covered in several prominent newspapers and TV channels like CNBC TV18, YourStory, Times Of India, Zee 24 Taas (live interview), Mid-Day, Indian Express, Forbes India Magazine, Sakal Marathi, Saam TV.
I never started NetaG as a startup, I saw it as an experiment and it turned out to be a fairly successful one. I’ve always wanted to build this as an organized community and wished to integrate other sectors/people as well. To be clear, NetaG is not an app, it is a medium with endless possibilities that can impact the lives of billions of people for good.
We are hiring looking for passionate people to be part of our core team. We provide free accommodation & food so if relocation is a problem, we’ve got you covered.
Join us if you’re curious and excited to bridge this communication gap between citizens and politicians irrespective of the platform or medium we choose.
We are currently looking for a 2+ years exp. Android Dev & 1+ exp. Social Media Manager. Read complete job description. We provide free accommodation and food, so if relocation is a problem we’ve got you covered. However, if your eyes tell you THIS IS REALLY AWESOME AND I NEED TO DO THIS RIGHT NOW, simply drop me a mail saying “Hi” at email@example.com. I’ll be waiting for you….