Our meeting today took place in the central office of KSHIP (Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project), an initiative of the Public Works Department of the Government of Karnataka for improvement of road network of the southern indian state. By creating a special committee called OG@KSHIP, the organisation aims to include Open Governance mechanisms in its workflow, thus encouraging citizen’s participation and giving transparency more weight.
We were invited to be part of the second meeting of the committee and were asked to give an input on tools and strategies in the field of Open Data they could adopt to realise their goals. For us, it was really interesting to have an insight on how such a project gets developed in a public organisation from its initial state. Since the project is still in the concept phase, where the basic steps have to be defined, our presentation and the big amount of examples we introduced served as inspiration and reference of what can be done in a later phase.
Our participation in this meeting wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Sridhar Pabbisetty, one of the contacts we established in the indian IT-Metropolis. With a background in Computer Science and a MBA at IIM Bangalore, Sridhar is one of the most active individuals pushing Open Government initiatives and the constructive use of Open Data in India.
His activities in the field are numerous. First, he conducted the creation of opengovernanceindia.org, the first Open Data platform in India which was launched just one week before the one from the national government. Besides participating in worldwide events as the OKCon 2012, where he held a lightning presentation, he is advising administrations and organisations about the benefits of acting towards openness, allowing citizens to be part of the decision-making process and raising consciousness of a sustainable use of resources.
After leading the Center of Public Policy, he took the decision to contest for the Hebbal Assembly constituency in the Karnataka Assembly Elections (MLA) in spring 2013 obtaining encouraging results. Parallel to all of this, he initiated the Center for Inclusive Governance, a team of people that “strives to enable citizens to lead the change they want to see, helping them to understand the legal, bureaucratic, political and civil society perspectives.”. We are happy to have met such an remarkable activist today and wish him all the best for his future projects.
Bangalore has proven to be a very productive environment for our research. Next Monday, we still have our workshop at the Center of Internet and Society and look forward to discovering even more!