Social Inclusion and Social-Technical Issues (SIG SI)

Paper Type

Complete

Paper Number

1417

Description

E-governance has changed the functioning of public programmes in India. In most cases, one technological platform is expected to perform multiple roles such as improving administrative efficiency, as an information repository for the beneficiaries and as a system for accountability. However, techno-solutionism can be incongruous to democratic principles. In this article, we highlight this by looking at some technologies, such as the Management Information System (MIS) among others, used for the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in India. We illustrate how such technologies have been used to subvert legal rights of workers and critically examine whether these designs incorporate democratic values. We underscore that technological interventions, with compassionate design are potentially powerful tools for transparency, accountability, and grievance redressal. However, we argue that technology alone can neither enhance participatory democracy nor reduce socio-economic inequalities.

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Aug 9th, 12:00 AM

Can a machine learn democracy?

E-governance has changed the functioning of public programmes in India. In most cases, one technological platform is expected to perform multiple roles such as improving administrative efficiency, as an information repository for the beneficiaries and as a system for accountability. However, techno-solutionism can be incongruous to democratic principles. In this article, we highlight this by looking at some technologies, such as the Management Information System (MIS) among others, used for the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in India. We illustrate how such technologies have been used to subvert legal rights of workers and critically examine whether these designs incorporate democratic values. We underscore that technological interventions, with compassionate design are potentially powerful tools for transparency, accountability, and grievance redressal. However, we argue that technology alone can neither enhance participatory democracy nor reduce socio-economic inequalities.