IT WAS in April 2014, when the city was upbeat about the Lok Sabha and assembly polls that city-based Neha Kakkad felt that most voters are unaware of whom they are casting their vote for and often, end up voting for the party.
This is when Kakkad and her team came up with the idea of developing an app that would connect the residents with the MLA of the respective area.
Around four months ago, a team of developers from the city started working on the free app LocalTalks, which is scheduled for launch in the first week of July.
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Before kickstarting the project, the team collected information on other similar initiatives. However, they found that while there are a few similar apps, none of them are interactive, giving easy access to residents with the MLAs.
“Voters do not really have any knowledge on the work done by the ruling parties/politicians in their areas. Also, they do not take any interest till the elections are round the corner. Thus, we decided to come up with a mobile app that would bridge the gap between the citizens and the MLAs,” said Kakkad, founder of LocalTalks.
Asked on how the app works, Kakkad said, users can follow their MLAs, know about trending issues in their areas, and raise civic issues pertaining to those areas. The issue would be directly addressed to the local MLAs based on the location of the issue shared by the users, following which the status of the issue becomes ‘open’ (by default).
The MLAs can solve the issue as per their convenience and then choose to close the issue whenever they want (which cannot be reopened by the users). Once an issue is closed, the user can rate the MLA between 1 and 5 and leave a comment. The average of all the ratings would be displayed on the MLA’s profile.
“We have already tied up with a few MLAs and are currently in talks with some more,” said Kakkad, adding that the app allows MLAs to create their profile wherein they can share their vision with everyone. The MLAs can put up their contact details and share issues that they have addressed within their jurisdiction.
“Besides, MLAs can identify the areas of concern and find viable solutions for the same. They would also be able to create and promote events with their followers. They can also carry out surveys with their followers to understand particular issues in their areas,” explains Kakkad.
Kakkad clarified that LocalTalks doesn’t endorse or support any particular party or candidate and is open for all elected MLAs in the country to register and interact with residents. However, at present, the app is available only in Maharashtra.