Chennai based anti-corruption NGO, Arappor Iyakkam has launched an app ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to allow users to check all details pertaining to candidates who are in the fray from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The 'Arappor Iyakkam' App which is available for free on Google Playstore, aims at creating awareness among the people about the candidates who are contesting.
During the release of the app, the organisation explained that the information on the app which is available in Tamil and English is based on the declaration by the candidates in their affidavits. The details include annual income in the last five years, assets and liabilities, pending criminal cases, educational background and profession.
"The affidavits that have been uploaded are not uniformly in the same language and as a voter it is not easy understand and translate these documents. So people go to the polling booth with out complete information on the candidate they are voting for," says Jayaram Venkatesan, convenor of Arappor Iyakkam. "We want to fill this knowledge gap. The media too covers only some key candidates, whereas there are 20-30 candidates in every constituency," he adds.
The work for the app began on March 26 and 200 volunteers were involved in the translation and checking process.
"The volunteers were all working professionals who put in hours after their daily work to make this happen. We first entered the data and then there were two levels of checking the information," says Jayaram. "They worked on the software for the app simultaneously. Following this, the data was loaded into the app and another two levels of checking was done before it was launched," he adds.
A study of this data, according to the NGO, reveals a series of anomalies in the income of several candidates and their spouses.
"There are people who have no source of income in the last 5 years but have accumulated a large number of assets. For some, their assets have grown about 20 times," says Jayaram. "This data will help people understand which politicians are worth voting for at all," he adds.
Even recently, the NGO shared screenshots from their app to show that the income of DMK candidate Kalanidhi Veerasamy's wife had risen from 28 lakh in 2015-16 to 7.75 crore in 2016-17.
"Maybe demonetisation brought in a lot of patients for the doctor," quipped the convenor.
The app can be downloaded from - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.api.ngo