Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kiirti soft launch

Kiirti, a one-stop citizen reporting and tracking platform to enable awareness and citizen engagement in India, was soft-launched on Dec 5, 2009.

It was made possible by extending Ushahidi to support Multiple Hosted Instances. A huge thanks to Ian Pye, the key architect behind Ushahidi MHI and to the Ushahidi team including Erik, Brian and David.

SMS shortcode support will be added by next week. The shortcode will be carrier-agnostic and hence make it possible for citizens to report about issues, from anywhere in India.

Next steps for Kiirti, include setting up a toll-free number and integration with FreedomFone to accept IVR-based reports and auto-classification of issues via integration with Weka or Swift.

Please send a mail to if you're interested in volunteering or donating for Kiirti.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kiirti, TEDIndia and Aazis

  • Kiirti, our one-stop citizen reporting and petitioning platform for India, is planned for launch in December 2009. Backend infrastructure work was completed last week enabling multiple instance hosting for Ushahidi.
  • The TEDIndia trip, made possible by CIS India grant, provided enormous opportunities to network with many interesting people and organizations. Looking forward to tie-ups with global aid agencies - who can find good use in eMoksha's citizen monitoring platforms for assessing aid impact - and other socially-conscious organizations.
  • Finally, our novel (or crazy - depending on who you ask :) idea about democratization of money, tagged Aazis, is ready for prototyping after we finished hashing out the functionalities and user scenarios. If anyone is interested in volunteering towards this effort, please mail me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Updates - October 30, 2009

  • Launched newly re-designed website on Oct 29th. Please check it out and let us know your comments/feedbacks.
  • Ushahidi Multiple Instances (UMI) support work is nearing completion with help from Ian Pye and our friends at Ushahidi. The current plan is to have a demo instance for UMI setup under Kiirti, just in time for the TEDIndia conference.
  • Work on FixOurCity Mumbai for Flood and Disaster Management started several weeks ago. Volunteers from NMIMS and HHI began working with eMoksha on requirements, design and implementation of the platform.
  • Last week, we successfully hired our first full-time Social Entrepreneurship Intern + Project Manager in Bangalore to help with eMoksha's projects, specifically Kiirti. Thanks to Shekhar Mittal from Praja for the timely help.
  • VoteReport Sudan project proposal was accepted by SIRP board and work is planned to begin early next week to setup a prototype instance.
  • CrimeReport Panama is pending grant approval at ICFJ end. Most likely, a decision will be made before end of December.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Updates - October 7, 2009

  • eMoksha and Ushahidi to work together on enabling Multiple Hosted Instances support for the versatile Ushahidi reporting platform.
  • Requirements discussion started for Kiirti, a one-stop citizen reporting and petitioning platform for India. More details to follow soon.
  • Mumbai Disaster Management system implementation to start next week in co-ordination with HHI and NMIMS.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Updates - September 16, 2009

  • Working with International Center For Journalists on a citizen-driven crime and corruption tracking platform for Panama City.
  • Completed first-round of talks with Sudan Institute, a think-tank based in US, to help monitor Sudanese elections next year using the VoteReport platform.
  • FixOurCity Hyderabad coding has been completed and currently under testing. Tentative launch before end of September.
  • FixOurCity Delhi, which will be using Ushahidi framework, is under design.
  • Design in progress for a uber-reporting platform in India that can auto-classify reports/SMS/tweets and generate reports to the appropriate government authorities/officials.
  • Design in progress for a platform to ease creation and management of local complementary currencies using mobiles/cells in developing countries.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

VoteReport Afghanistan Coverage Update

Yesterday saw VoteReport Afghanistan (a.k.a AliveInAfghanistan) featured in Top News Items on BBC Tech and covered by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show. The sudden spike in traffic brought down the site for a few minutes. Later, we were able to bring it back by doing the equivalent of an open-heart surgery on the production hosts to split the DB and the webserver. Thanks to Ian Pye from the VoteReport Lebanon (a.k.a Sharek961) team for his timely help.

Below are links to few more articles covering VoteReport Afghanistan.

Monday, August 17, 2009

VoteReport Afghanistan launched

Last weekend, eMoksha launched VoteReport Afghanistan in collaboration with Small World News. This is the 3rd country in which we have launched the VoteReport platform, which was originally built for the 2009 Indian Elections.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CIS Grant - July 29, 2009

Last week, the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) in India granted eMoksha Rs 300,000 (approximately $6200) to support our work in the areas of enabling transparency and good governance. Besides monetary support, CIS has also kindly offered us office space for interns and part-time employees at their Bangalore office.

On behalf of eMoksha's volunteers, I sincerely thank CIS and Sunil for their support and belief in our initiatives. The funds will help strengthen eMoksha's VoteReport and FixOurCity platforms, and hire a Social Entrepreneur Intern to spearhead the Open Data Initiative to digitize and share government data in public domain via standard webservices/APIs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Update - July 15, 2009

Interesting updates since last post.
  • FixOurCity Chennai resolved more than 25 issues in its first month after launch with a resolution rate greater than 50%. Midway through talks with one of the top radio channels in Chennai to spread awareness. Launched the FixOurCityChennai social network to get discuss/brainstorm ideas with committed citizens.
  • Working with a regional partner to launch FixOurCity Hyderabad within next couple of months.
  • VoteReport Maharashtra is getting off the ground a bit slower than expected and hoping to get it up and running before end of August. More update on this later.
  • Working on an idea to help localities and communities that have the required resources and werewithal to make lives better, but waiting for government or private funding. Planning to launch first version by end of August.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Democracy Camp Update - June 23, 2009

The first democracy camp in Chennai was held on June 6th. The focus of the camp was discussing and analyzing the impact of technology on governance and other citizen-centered initiatives. Below are some key updates.
  • Around 25 participants from Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai took part in the camp.
  • I gave a brief presentation outlining the technology + governance landscape in India. This will be posted online at
  • The camp was extended for 2 additional hours than planned, owing to participants enthusiasm. Overall, the camp was successful.
  • To continue the conversations that were started at the camp, a micro-social network was formed at - feel free to join and contribute.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

India Trip Update - June 3, 2009

  • Met with the Election Commissioner and Deputy Election Commissioner of India to discuss VoteReport India's role in 2009 general elections. The feedback was positive and the EC was interested in adapting VRI for the upcoming Maharashtra state elections. This is fantastic, since despite being a relatively new NGO eMoksha has been able to garner the trust of one of the most progressive governmental organizations in India. More details on this to follow soon.
  • In Delhi, met with several leaders from NNFI including Anant and Promod, Dr. Jagdeep Chhokar from ADR and Barun Mitra from Liberty Institute. It was an invaluable experience to discuss existing initiatives and brainstorming new ones with these leaders.
  • In Bangalore, met with Srikanth and Aveejeet from eGovernments (Srikanth is an advisor to eMoksha), Indira and Rajesh from Janaagraha and Sunil Abraham from Center for Internet and Society. Laid the foundation for a collaborative effort between eGovernments and eMoksha as part of the Rural eGovernance initiative. More details on this to follow later.
  • Shekhar Mittal joined as a new volunteer for eMoksha, to drive the Open Data Initiative (need to find a better name :) to help digitize and expose all government data using web standards like DCMI/XML/KML/etc.
  • Uma Babu joined as a franchiser for FixOurCity Chennai, to help promote the platform and spread the word.
  • 44 people have signed up for the iDemocracyCamp to be held at Cognizant's office on OMR in Chennai. At least couple of participants are flying from Hyderabad and Bangalore to attend the camp.
  • Finally, VoteReport Lebanon (aka was successfully launched yesterday. This was made possible by a team that was spread between Seattle, New York, Beirut, Nairobi and Chennai. Welcome to the new age in global civic software development.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Update - May 10, 2009

  • FixOurCity for Chennai (India) was soft-launched couple of days ago. Please try it out and mail us your feedback and comments. This will be hugely helpful in eliminating any kinks in the system, before the full-blown launch later this month with media.
  • Over the last few weeks we have entered into discussion with several individuals and organizations regarding an adaptation/implementation of VoteReport India for the upcoming elections in Lebanon. Further updates will be made public soon.
  • As the Indian elections are nearing the end, discussions have started to extend the VoteReport platform to track performance/promises of elected members and other transparency initiatives. I'll be posting updates on our plans within next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Update - April 28, 2009

  • is now (actually, has been for the past 3 weeks). Couple of weeks after eMoksha launched FreeFairElections, we came to know about another team working on a similar initiative using the Ushahidi platform and decided to merged the projects (for better use of resources and reach) under In less than 3 weeks of operation, has 13,000+ visits to the site from 5,000+ unique visitors. Here is an article featuring in one of the popular Mumbai newspapers. 
  • FixOurCity intergration with corporation is expected to be completed in another couple of days and we plan to go for a full-fledged beta by first week of May. This beta was delayed by several weeks due to additional focus on recently.
  • On a personal note, I attended eDemocracyCamp2 in DC last week and it was an excellent experience. This should help set the bar for our iDemocracyCamp in Chennai on June 6.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Update - April 2, 2009

Below are important updates from past week.
  • Free Fair Elections was beta launched few days ago, ahead of schedule by a full 2 weeks. All the credit for this goes to Munish for implementing the SMS integration in record-time. Overall feedback for the site has been very positive, with several suggestions to adopt the framework for community policing purposes, later on. Our biggest challenge yet, is that of spreading the word. Thankfully, we've a good partner in NNFI who're helping us stress test the system and introduce it to the Election Commission and National Electional Watch. For readers of this blog - please spread the word about Free Fair Elections to your families/friends and don't forget to use it yourself :)
  • Fix Our City beta launch is now scheduled for April 14th. Shanmugam has been making good progress with the backend corporation integration and we hope to have the beta site ready for end-to-end testing by mid next week. Data population for the remaining 7 zones are planned be completed by mid of next week as well.
  • iDemocracyCamp has been garnering slow but steady traction with 10+ new attendees signing up past week (and there are 9 more weeks left to go). We have signed up couple of corporate sponsors for the event so far, with a potential sponsor for the meeting space as well. More details in coming weeks.
  • Lastly, we're excited to announce that Srikanth Nadhamuni from eGovernments has kindly accepted to be an advisor to eMoksha. Srikanth has a wealth of experience in enabling e-governance for many corporations/municipalities in India. We're looking forward to getting his guidance and collaborating with eGovernments on new initiatives.
On a personal note, I'll be at the eDemocracyCamp in DC on April 19th and in India between May-June for Fix Our City public launch and iDemocracyCamp. Please ping me if you want to connect in DC or India.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Update - March 23, 2009

It's been several weeks since the last update, despite my claim to provide updates each week. This is going on my improvement-needed list. But, glad to announce that we're now working on 3 civic projects and organizing the first-ever Democracy Camp in India. More details below.

  • FixOurCity is now in private beta. The only pieces left before going public beta are integration with the Corporation site and populating DB with pincodes/areanames (that are not supported by Google Maps).
  • We're working with NNFI to allow people in India to voice their opinions/priorities to the new yet-to-be-formed Indian government (along the lines of ObamaCTO)
  • Also, we're working on a service to allow citizens to report elections issues (e.x. machine broken, vote already cast, ...) via SMS. Later on, this service can be used to monitor issues during riots, natural disasters, ... as well.
  • Lastly, eMoksha will be sponsoring an iDemocracyCamp in Chennai during early June to share/discuss ideas in the areas of online democracy and civic software.
If you need additional information on any of the above, send us a mail.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Site Launched

Below are important updates since last post.

1. The new site was launched over the weekend. One pending task is to enable SEF URLs.
2. Another good week on the technology front. Resolved an elusive Apache mod_rewrite issue and got close of 75% of the functionality working on the development host.
3. Registered domain.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Progress update as of 02.17.2009

Now that we've been gaining momentum with FixMyStreet adaptation and several partnerships with local organizations in Chennai and Bangalore, we'll start providing weekly progress updates. Below are updates since the last blog post.

1. New website is getting close to launch. Planned launch date is Feb 23, 2009.
2. Made good progress on the technology front. We have a skeletal FixMyStreet up and running on a development host including integration with Google Maps and support for latitude/longitude (as opposed to easting/northing). Based on the current backlog, we estimate the rest of the changes to take anywhere between 6-8 weeks, enabling a possible beta launch by mid-April.
3. Based on current conversations with the Janaagraha team, it's likely that we would launch the civic infrastructure management platform (yet to be named - if you've any suggestions please mail to in Bangalore along with Chennai.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Progress update as of 02.06.2009

It's been 2 months since I started FT working on eMoksha and below are some interesting updates.

1. Got our first advisor Mike Mathieu who is the founder of FrontSeat, a civic software company and incubator.
2. Working on adapting Mysociety's FixMyStreet platform for India and Norway.
3. Partnered with Janaagraha and CityConnect in Chennai to launch the first version of citizen engagement platform.
4. Partnering with several local organizations and companies in Bangalore and Hyderabad for launches in those cities (which we hope to do soonafter Chennai).