Citizen Engagement, according to the World Bank, is a “two-way interaction between citizens, the government and private sector that gives citizens a stake in decision-making to improve the intermediate and final developmental outcomes of the initiated intervention”. The current status of citizen engagement initiatives in India includes mechanisms for grievance redressal, information exchange, crowdsourcing, etc. A comprehensive list of these initiatives has been published by the World Bank in 2017, which contains a total of 180 projects distributed across various states, led by Karnataka with 21 projects followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh with 15 and 14 engagement initiatives respectively (O’Meally,Chowdhury,Piplani 2017).
Since 2014, at the National level, citizen engagement has been bolstered by the ‘MyGov’- citizen Engagement Portal that leverages ICT to facilitate citizen-government engagement and innovation in governance and development (Nic.in.2014). The platform witnessed more than 18000 suggestions for the Union Budget 2020-21. The Ideas and suggestions box has received more than 30,000 suggestions and 5000 calls on the IVRS line (Singh, Kaushik 2020). In addition, MyGov started an initiative called #FridaysAtMyGov, which facilitates an informal interaction between ministries and citizens. The states too have played an active role in ensuring innovative methods of citizen engagement. For instance, the Andhra Pradesh Municipal Administration hosts an online portal for citizen engagement that ensures timely redressal of grievances with a resolution rate of 98.22% while achieving a 4 on 5 rating in citizen satisfaction (Ph.vassarlabs.com 2016). Another prevalent channel of engagement for city-level agencies is through social media. The police departments of Delhi, Indore, and Maharashtra, metro rail corporations of Delhi, Kochi, and municipal corporations of Mumbai have used Social Media as an effective medium of citizen grievance redressal mechanism. The “turant 24”, an SMS-based CTS of the Maharashtra Police ensures the first response within 24 hours and resolves the issue within 30 days (Janaagraha 2012).
Apart from the Government's initiatives, collaboration in the private sector has augmented citizen engagement initiatives in India. Civil Society organization Janaagraha’s initiative launched in 2012, “Ichangemycity'', a hyper-local social change platform. In Bangalore, the website has 2,01,49,924 users with a total of 5,86,61,474 complaints and a resolution rate of 93.8%. This initiative's Public Eye feature is a traffic violation reporting mobile app that works in tandem with Bengaluru Traffic Police, which has over 80000 downloads and fines totaling over 90L rupees from defaulters.
The Government of Haryana, in collaboration with 'One direct-CRM,' manages all citizen inputs and suggestions in one place for feedback management and service performance analysis. The USP of this vertical in citizen engagement is that it is a multi-channel solution that covers calls, emails, SMS, Social, In-Person, Letters, CPGRAM, WhatsApp, Chat, APP, etc.(Unlock the Voice of Citizen - Smartnet.niua.org). Despite these innovative efforts, India's score in the 2020 Civil Society Participation Index dropped from 8 to 7 out of ten in 2019. Indicating a scope of improvement in the domain, particularly in citizen engagements that ensures local need-based solutions (Civil Society participation. GovData360).