The Optimist Citizen

How a common man from Rajasthan utilised a government portal to solve over hundreds of local and municipal problems

Politics, government, and cynicism – they often go together in a bundle in terms of public opinion, irrespective of the political majority, party or ideology in power. But, often, there are individuals who tread beyond that veil of cynicism and try to question the government in way that is accountable and unique is many senses. Pratyush Joshi from Rajasthan found a similarly unique way to make sure that the government, its services and its duties are held accountable and are executed with conviction. Pratyush believes that as much as it is the responsibility of the representatives to come to the aid of the citizens, it is an equal impetus on the citizens to take up actions and dutifully report problems. Rueful brooding and criticism won’t help anyone.

Pratyush Joshi, is an engineer by profession. But if you go to his hometown of Jaipur, he will be more identifiable as the man who helps everyone out by registering complaints on the Sampark Portal of the Government of Rajasthan. The Sampark Portal is a web portal that has been launched by the Government Rajasthan in order to promote proactive participation of citizens in registering pertinent problems and helping in quick execution. And this is where Pratyush joshi truly shines. He registered his first complaint on the website in 2014, about some dustbins that were not available in his locality. While he did this to test the system, he was pleasantly surprised to see that within a week, the dustbins were replaced. An usual route of complaint, through a physical bureaucratic system would have taken months. This is when he realized the power of the Sampark Portal and the power that each citizen held in their hands.

Pratyush Joshi
Pratyush Joshi

Since everything is digitized, no one can deny having received the complaint. He says that if your complaint is genuine, then anything can be done. And therefore he uses the portal wherever he can. Pratyush travels to the districts around jodhpur and registers their civic complaints for them. However he does not believe in giving a man a fish. He rather believes that you should teach him how to fish. If young people come to Pratyush Joshi, all he will do is guide them about registering the complaint; Not fill the complaint for them himself. He believes that this young generation is educated in the ways of technology and all they need is a little guidance to get them going. Till date, Pratyush has filed more than 150 complaints and has overseen them being solved over a 100 times.

Talking about Digital India Volunteer program, the national level program that he is a volunteer with, he says that rajasthan needs it very urgently. He talks about certain parts of rajasthan that are only a hundred kilometres away from his hometown, but are considered to be backward. And that is not entirely a wrong belief either, because these are villages that have not had electricity for two years. He says that one of the reasons that happened is because the public weren’t aware of the power they hold in their hands. And that, according to him is where the program and the portal swoop in, to change the lives of people, rather dramatically. A digital india volunteer can bring all the difference in the lives of people living in such disconnected regions. Armed with digital literacy, these volunteers hold the ability to teach people how to send their voices, from a small, disconnected town, straight to the prime minister’s office.

He had told a boy from a village to send a copy of a letter for building a bridge in his village to the concerned departments over and over again. For days, week, months, this cycle continued. But Pratyush knew, at some point the people concerned would finally get irritated and do their jobs. And that they did. Now, one crore rupees have been sanctioned for the bridge. Pratyush joshi is a simple man and he doesn’t intend to take part in elections, or get into the bureaucracy for his own benefits. When asked about his future plans, he talks about training and creating a small army of people, determined, just like him, to help other people.he is currently training 15-16 people so that they can expand the region they cover in their complaint registering service.

Want to contact Pratyush and support his incredible work? Get in touch with him by clicking here.


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