In battle for the ballot, software firms ‘app’ the ante

Apr 13 2014, 01:22 IST
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When the world’s largest democracy goes to the polls, it’s quite natural that software companies will try to tap the huge chunk of smartphone users in the country. Reuters When the world’s largest democracy goes to the polls, it’s quite natural that software companies will try to tap the huge chunk of smartphone users in the country. Reuters
SummaryToday, there’s an app for almost everything under the sun.

Today, there’s an app for almost everything under the sun. So, when the world’s largest democracy goes to the polls, it’s quite natural that software companies will try to tap the huge chunk of smartphone users in the country. Considering that a fourth of the 81.45-crore Indians eligible to vote this year have access to Internet (as per reports), most of whom use it on their mobile handsets, these e-platforms are taking the initiative to educate and create poll awareness among the masses.

From features that help users register for voting to informing them about the current state of the elections and providing real-time election news, several new apps have come up to bridge the last-mile gap between users and the democratic set-up.

The app ‘India Vote’, for instance, serves as an on-the-go directory for voters looking to know about candidates contesting from their constituency.

‘India Election EC Voter’, meanwhile, helps voters locate their nearest polling booth. Others like ‘Voting Line’ serve as real-time trackers to gauge election trends across the country at any given point in time.

Manav Gaur, CEO, Monocept, a Hyderabad-based software development company behind the ‘Voting Line’ app, says, “It is not just an app but a platform to seek opinions of citizens and analyse the voting trends in real time. We created this app to have a fair opinion of the people by enabling them to cast their votes without being manipulated midway.”

As per a spokesperson from Monocept, about 5,000 people have downloaded the app from Google’s Play Store.

Facebook recently came up with the ‘India Election Tracker’ in India that tracks candidates and parties throughout the election period. People logging into the application can see the live stream of candidates for the ongoing elections and participate in a poll about issues that matter to them. They can also compare how much the Facebook community is talking about leading candidates and parties over time.

“The idea was to enable people to get involved in issues of governance,” says Ankhi Das, director of public policy, Facebook India. “Over 93 million Indian citizens access Facebook regularly, and an increasing number of users access the platform on mobile platforms. We hope to make information more readily available to users about the antecedents and performance of political candidates,” adds Das.

Facebook also collaborated with the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a civil society group working for transparency in

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