One of the common grievances of the public is that they don’t get to see more of their elected leaders once the polls are complete. How do you make leaders aware about your concerns and that they should be taken seriously? One way is to reach out to them through Facebook and Twitter or governance-related portals and applications. But how about a platform that lets you rate the politicians like you’d do for an Uber driver or a joint that delivers food through Zomato?
Neta is a cross-platform application which aims to achieve this by mimicking the approval ratings format in the US that has been a popular political indicator to measure the change in political preferences. The application essentially aims to quantify the public’s mood over time and help leaders gauge what people in their constituency care about the most.
Neta app uses mediums like IVR and SMS to gather data on changing political inclinations, and tries to deliver a single point scorecard that displays results collected across all these mediums. The app also enables people to express their opinion and conduct polls on different issues.
Each user is given one vote each for their MP and MLA, which they could use and eventually transfer to other leaders if their favourite leader is not performing. This will later reflect on a dashboard, where all users can see which leader is gaining popularity and which one is lagging behind, based on performance.
Neta application is developed by Pratham Mittal who has founded companies like Outgrow, a popular polling technology used by top publishers worldwide. Pratham’s team includes Robin Sharma who co-founded Citizens for Accountable Governance with political strategist Prashant Kishor and Angad Kingra, former design lead at Zomato who has been the influence behind the app design.
Pratham hopes that the application becomes the reference point for political leaders to gauge public mood.
“We are launching the application state-by-state. We launched the application in Karnataka ahead of the assembly elections. The app registered 25 lakh votes in the state. In the coming Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, we are hoping to register 1 crore votes. We are looking at 10 crore votes for next year’s general elections,” he said.
He also claimed that Neta app had correctly predicted a hung assembly in Karnataka, stressing that the data on the app has higher accuracy.
Pratham said Neta will also undergo a few changes in the future to make the experience more intuitive for users. New features include posting a selfie video, Facebook emoji-like expressions, pinning leaders for accountability among others.
On whether politicians will care about such rating application, he said that the party leadership relies on advisers and less credible reports to distribute party tickets. Neta app can give legitimate data reference points to influence those decisions.
“We provide an in-depth insight to political parties. We have heat maps for different locations. Right now, a few features are in testing phase,” he said, adding that most of the data will be available to the public. Pratham also said that he does not intend to monetise user data.
He further said that the application uses various APIs and tools (including Truecaller, phone number and Aadhaar) to verify that a user is not fake. The moderation team also flags a user or content for inappropriate or malicious behaviour.