Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True Voter

The original form of democracy was a direct democracy. The most common form of democracy today is a representative democracy, where the people elect government officials to govern on their behalf such as in a parliamentary or presidential democracy.

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Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True Voter

Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation (“direct democracy”), or to choose governing officials to do so (“representative democracy”). Who is considered part of “the people” and how authority is shared among or delegated by the people has changed over time and at different rates in different countries, but over time more and more of a democratic country’s inhabitants have generally been included. Cornerstones of democracy include freedom of assembly, association and speech, inclusiveness and equality, citizenship, consent of the governed, voting rights, freedom from unwarranted governmental deprivation of the right to life and liberty, and minority rights.The notion of democracy has evolved over time considerably. The original form of democracy was a direct democracy. The most common form of democracy today is a representative democracy, where the people elect government officials to govern on their behalf such as in a parliamentary or presidential democracy.

Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True VoterPrevalent day-to-day decision making of democracies is the majority rule, though other decision-making approaches like supermajority and consensus have also been integral to democracies. They serve the crucial purpose of inclusiveness and broader legitimacy on sensitive issues—counterbalancing majoritarianism—and therefore mostly take precedence on a constitutional level. In the common variant of liberal democracy, the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority—usually through the enjoyment by all certain individual rights, e.g., freedom of speech or freedom of association.

The term appeared in the 5th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Classical Athens, to mean “rule of the people”, in contrast to aristocracy, meaning “rule of an elite”. Western democracy, as distinct from that which existed in antiquity, is generally considered to have originated in city-states such as those in Classical Athens and the Roman Republic, where various schemes and degrees of enfranchisement of the free male population were observed before the form disappeared in the West at the beginning of late antiquity. In virtually all democratic governments throughout ancient and modern history, democratic citizenship consisted of an elite class until full enfranchisement was won for all adult citizens in most modern democracies through the suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Democracy contrasts with forms of government where power is either held by an individual, as in autocratic systems like absolute monarchy, or where power is held by a small number of individuals, as in an oligarchy—oppositions inherited from ancient Greek philosophy. World public opinion strongly favors democratic systems of government.

In simple terms, democracy is a chief system of the government wherein every citizen exercises certain powers directly or further elect representatives within themselves for the formation of a governing body. For instance, a parliament is known as a governing body. It is also recognized as the rule of the majority. In such a type of government, power isn’t and cannot be inherited.

Definitions

Full democracies are nations where civil liberties and fundamental political freedoms are not only respected but also reinforced by a political culture conducive to the thriving of democratic principles. These nations have a valid system of governmental checks and balances, an independent judiciary whose decisions are enforced, governments that function adequately, and diverse and independent media. These nations have only limited problems in democratic functioning.

Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honoured but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement and minor suppression of political opposition and critics). These nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.

Hybrid regimes are nations with regular electoral frauds, preventing them from being fair and free democracies. These nations commonly have governments that apply pressure on political opposition, non-independent judiciaries, widespread corruption, harassment and pressure placed on the media, anaemic rule of law, and more pronounced faults than flawed democracies in the realms of underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.

Authoritarian regimes are nations where political pluralism is nonexistent or severely limited. These nations are often absolute monarchies or dictatorships, may have some conventional institutions of democracy but with meagre significance, infringements and abuses of civil liberties are commonplace, elections (if they take place) are not fair or free (including sham elections), the media is often state-owned or controlled by groups associated with the ruling regime, the judiciary is not independent, and censorship and suppression of governmental criticism are commonplace.

All in all, of the 167 countries, there are 23 full democracies, 52 flawed democracies, 35 “hybrid regimes,” and 57 “authoritarian regimes”.

Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True VoterChallenges

  • Overcoming polarization

While some partisan polarization is healthy for democracy, one of the key drivers of democratic decay in new and established democracies is intense polarization, where political opponents begin to regard each other as existential enemies, allowing incumbents to justify abuses of democratic norms to restrain the opposition, and encouraging the opposition to use “any means necessary” to (re)gain power. If citizens remain loyal to a political party even if it violates key democratic norms, political polarization represents a genuine threat to functioning of democratic accountability. A key question for students of democratization and democratic erosion is how such intense partisan polarization can be overcome. Many students of advanced and developing democracies have highlighted institutional reforms (e.g., electoral reforms, reforms to systems of candidate selection), but others have highlighted the importance of deeper social, economic, and even the need to rebuild democratic norms.

  • Immigration and the challenge of sustaining multiethnic democracies

The challenge of sustaining multiethnic democracies is one of the most significant challenges facing democracies of all types today. The politics of redistribution has also been notoriously complicated by ethnic diversity, but the growing ethnic diversity of both new and old democracies, driven in part by immigration, have generated different forms of right-wing populist backlash and has exacerbated political polarization. This poses dilemmas for parties of the right and left. For parties of the right, there are temptations to exploit issues of cultural diversity to gain power, which also may lead to restrictions and unequal representation of ethnic minorities, diminishing the quality of democracy. For parties of the left, this same politics has stimulated much discussion in recent years of whether the welfare state is compatible with ethnic diversity. In fact, many on the left have argued that the left needs to reopen debates about immigration to diminish the appeals of the populist right. Our central focus in this strand of our work is to use cross-national experiences to focus on challenges and innovative ways that multiethnic democracies can be sustained in the face of a dangerous populist-fueled polarization.

  • Globalization, economic inequality, and democratic discontent

A third major theme is the threat economic inequality, often driven by global economic forces, poses to the survival and viability of democracy. We explore the pernicious and indirect ways in which unequal economic resources diminishes the quality of democracy, through voting, institutional design, campaign spending, and media. We examine how shifts in the global economy may have accelerated this. Additionally, we explore whether and how slowed economic growth over the past forty years in advanced democracies have generated new antidemocratic populist backlash at the level of mass opinion and political party development. We track the economic roots of democratic discontent across new and old democracies.

  • The causes of populism and its consequences for democracy

In the past several years, there has been renewed attention to the upsurge of populist parties and movements from Latin America and North America to western and eastern Europe. The ambiguous relationship of populism to democracy is a difficult and important topic of research. Many populist outsiders come to power speaking on behalf of “the people” but often doing so in ways that seem to challenge basic norms of liberal democracy. We interface and work collaboratively with existing groups on campus but with a focus on the consequences of populist parties and movements on democracy and de-democratization. How can demagogues be kept out of power? What are the best institutional and organizational responses to groups and parties that use the language of democracy to undermine democracy?

  • Debates over institutional solutions

Another set of debates regards whether institutional reforms can provide solutions to some of the problems afflicting established democracies. Many Western democracies maintain constitutions, electoral systems, and other democratic institutions whose origins lie in the early twentieth, nineteenth, and even eighteenth centuries. The age of these institutions is often a point of pride for many citizens (think of Americans’ attachment to their constitution and even dysfunctional institutions like the Electoral College). But existing institutions may be ill-suited for the challenges facing contemporary democracies. Thus, we bring together constitutional scholars and students of electoral and other institutions to examine institutional innovations aimed at improving the quality of established democracies. These include electoral reforms (e.g., debates over ranked preference voting systems), participatory institutions (participatory budgeting), the use of referenda and other forms of direct democracy, and institutional reforms aimed at enhancing – or restricting – intra-party democracy. Many of these innovations emerged out of new democracies in Latin America and elsewhere and are only recently being debated in established democracies.

To curb rising authoritarianism and reverse this course,International IDEA calls for a global alliance for theadvancement of democracy through a three-pointagenda:

Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True VoterGovernment institutions, in close consultation withcivil society, must take the lead inrecrafting socialcontracts. These contracts should be the result ofinclusive societal deliberation that sheds light onthe gaps between what people require to meet theiraspirations and what governments can currentlyprovide. Specifically, these new social contracts, whichwill be the basis for immediate recovery and longer-termdevelopment efforts, should—at a minimum—addressthe varied inequalities exacerbated by the Covid-19

pandemic, prioritize corruption eradication, andensure that environmental sustainability principles aremainstreamed into policy development.

Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True VoterGovernment institutions, political parties, electoralmanagement bodies (EMBs) and media should reformdemocratic institutions, processes, relationships, andbehaviours so that theyare better able to cope withthe challenges of the 21st century. They should updatepracticesin established democracies, build democraticcapacity in new democracies, and protect electoralintegrity, fundamental freedoms and rights, and the checksand balances essential to thriving and resilient democraticsystems. They should also prioritize (re)building themutual trust between citizens and their representativesthat characterizes the strongest democracies.

Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True VoterGovernment institutions, along with civil society andthe media, must prevent risingauthoritarianism anddemocratic backsliding by investing in democracyeducation at all levelsof schooling, by buttressing thepillars of democracy that ensure accountability, includingbroad participation and access to information, and byactively learning from other countries’ experiences infighting disinformation, building democratic cultures andstrengthening democratic guardrails.

The Information Technology for Democracy initiative

Citizens’ involvement in politics is a necessity for any democracy. However, this involvement needs to be motivated by awareness and knowledge. The conflict between the elitist view of democracy and the deliberative view is based on the ability of the public to understand the complicated political issues. Therefore, representative, pluralist, and deliberative models of democracy depend on the extent to which people can develop political awareness and their ability to access information. Habermas argues that the deliberative approach is the best when applicable.

The advance of information and communication technologies now allows citizens to access information and be better informed through e-government services and other different communication channels at a very low cost. On the one hand, this advance indeed empowers citizens and civil society organizations to speak out and practice their right of controlling and questioning both central and local governments’ actions and polices; on the other hand, it serves to put pressure on governments and their representatives in parliaments to fulfil their duties.

The application of these technologies in public administration can lead to different positive outputs, such as enhancing the delivery of government services, better interaction with different organizations (e.g., businesses and associations), citizens’ empowerment, and engagement by facilitating access to information. According to the World Bank, the effective adoption and use of information technologies to deliver government services can decrease corruption, provide more transparency, reduce costs, and increase revenue. Expertise argued that the use of information technology can enhance accountability and the quality of government activities, which include service delivery, providing easy access to information and encouraging citizens and organizations toward direct participation. In this sense, e-government is expected to bring the government closer to its citizens.

Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True VoterE-government, according, has three major activities which are

  1. Integration of high-quality public services,
  2. Providing effective management of the relationship with citizens, and
  3. Supporting citizens and civil society’s goals of development on economic and social levels locally, nationally, and internationally.

Accordingly, e-government can be characterized as a reengineering of information provision to citizens by the public administration to achieve added value. Therefore, three major e-government relationships can be distinguished between the three actors, as shown in below image.

E-government here is considered as a body that is composed of the interaction of three parts, which are e-democracy, e-administration, and e-service. E-democracy represents citizens’ relationship with the state; e-service represents the relationship between citizens and public administration, whereas e-administration is the digitalisation of the processes and procedures within the governmental agencies to provide support for decision makers.

Efficiency is the key word for successful e-services that aim to rationalize public administration expenses and offer more accessible and readily available services. We can observe similarities between e-services and e-commerce that are inherited from the similarities of the public and the private sectors. Nevertheless, the main technical difference is that demand in private sector is market-oriented, whereas public services, electronic or nonelectronic, lack the flexible market information structures. Moreover, the supply of public services is constrained by the availability of resources, which are basically taxes and fees, and by prioritization and legal application.

E-Democracy

Governments may embrace technological solutions for more efficiency and more rationalized public expenses. Whether it is deliberately or not, democratic processes could be enhanced with such endeavours. E-democracy and e-government are sometimes used as synonyms, which creates a misconception. E-democracy (also referred to as e-participation and digital democracy) includes providing accessibility to officials and the archives of government bodies and permitting citizens’ participation through information and communication technologies regarding issues of public interest. E-democracy in this stream can be accepted as the electronic participation of citizens in activities that partially disperse government authority, which allows the citizens to directly influence decision-making processes in public-related issues. E-government has three significant functions: information, transactions, and consultation. Consultation could be either limited engagement or active participation. The latter is known as e-democracy.

The importance of ICT use for democratic processes increases when three factors are guaranteed: information provision, citizens’ engagement in policy drawing, and regulatory transformations. This will lead to the partial distribution of authority to citizens through digital participation. Yet, civic participation may differ based on the space of participation e-government platforms allow whether they reach a higher level of deliberation or just be limited to voting.

Transparency and Corruption Control

E-government is expected to play an effective role in reducing corruption. Governments worldwide have been modernizing their services through an electronic presence for income, sales, and property taxes collection, which are normally expected to be a target for corruption. E-government in this sense can be an effective control tool. Vertical and horizontal integration of government systems across applications not only allows real-time authentication, but also assures the traceability of the decisions that are made. The fear of being caught committing wrong-doing and the shame that follows can be a hindrance to corruption-related practices.

When governments share information with the citizens, they tend to build accountability through the provision of documentation to citizens, whose endeavour is to restrict corruption. Transparency is the ability of the public to see and review the government’s practices.

Although corruption can be found in public and private sectors in different shapes. However, corruption in the public sector is the real threat that affects government’s performance and confidence when citizens are not treated justly. The proper performance of governments entitles them to solve problems in the private sector.

Accountability

Modern political theories emphasise that accountability is a core feature of democracy where public authorities are required to assume responsibility for their actions. Accountabilityfundamentally strengthens the legitimacy of a political system. Accountability refers to the obligation of an “actor” to justify and explain his actions to a “forum” who is entitled to ask questions, make judgements, and force the “actor” to face the consequences of their actions. In this sense, people explain and justify their actions only when they are requested, and only when there is power to back the request.

True Voters

In an attempt to make the election process more transparent, the State Election Commission (SEC) is all set to launch the ‘True Voter’ mobile application which will not only let citizens check voters’ lists but can also keep a tab on election expenditure by of candidates contesting polls from their wards. The service will presently be available for local body polls. The application is ready to use and anyone can download it to their mobile phone and will be a step towards a transparent election process. The app offers nine services, including searching the voter list, candidates’ visions, their poll expenses, and a polling booth locator.

Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True VoterAn interesting feature of the app is ‘Secure Your Vote’, which helps the voter to protect his or her identity to avoid impersonation during polling using a security question, and instances of bogus voting can be reported via the app, the SEC official said.

Through Voters’ Voice, voters can register their expectations from candidates, which will be visible to the candidate who is using the app.In an effort to ease interaction between voters and candidates, the ‘Add Reference’ button allows the voter to add candidates’ numbers as reference points. Candidates can also view and download list of such voters for correspondence. “This is a first-of-its-kind experiment by us, and we expect positive response from voters,” the official said.

Conclusion

E-government can be recognized as an effective tool for promoting government accountability, since it is expected to provide more openness, facilitate citizens’ engagement in public decision making, help define and follow suit liability and responsibility, and, most importantly, improve controllability over officials. A powerful leadership has a significant role in enhancing online procedures, which leads to the minimization of risk. They argue that better responsiveness, corruption control, and enhanced transparency can improve accountability. E-government, in this sense, increases information loading and sharing between different departments within the integrated systems of e-government, which improves the responsiveness capacity and service quality to the different stakeholders, and eventually increases government accountability.

The other outcome of e-government is enhanced transparency, which represents a good way of supporting the application of already existing laws that emphasise the rights of citizens to access information. Until recently, many countries indeed applied secrecy laws that constrained citizens and public opinion. It requires a strong will from the government towards real and factual openness. Optimal implementation of transparency laws is subject to the comprehensive use of ICTs to deliver government services. E-government in general andmust not be considered as a tool only used increase access to information, but rather as a means to ensure that rules and regulations are transparent and respected as well.


By,
Dr. P.Sekhar,
Chairman,
Dr. P. Sekhar the policy times
Unleashing India Global Smart City Panel & MTGF

By,
Prof. Muralidhar Bhutada,
Prof. Muralidhar Bhutada
Reputed Educationist and Innovator, MD Abhinav IT Solutions Pvt Ltd


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Challenges to Democratic processes taken care by Information Technology through True Voter
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The original form of democracy was a direct democracy. The most common form of democracy today is a representative democracy, where the people elect government officials to govern on their behalf such as in a parliamentary or presidential democracy.
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THE POLICY TIMES
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