Bengalureans filed 2,100 online petitions on civic issues, more than double that of the other metro cities.

Bengalureans engaged filed most online petitions on civic issues this year Changeorg PTI/Representational Image
news Activism Friday, December 28, 2018 - 18:02

For anyone living in a metro in India, there is no dearth of civic issues that they are affected by on any given day. At the same time, a sense of apathy and disdain among citizens is also not uncommon when it comes to taking action to fix these problems. However, it seems that Bengaluru is inching away from this culture.

According to data provided by Change.org India, a platform for online petitions and mobilisation on a host of issues, Bengalureans filed the most number of online petitions on civic issues this year compared to other Indian metros. 2,100 online petitions were filed by Bengalureans on civic issues – more than double that of the other metro cities, and 57% of the total petitions started from Bengaluru this year.

Compared to Bengaluru, the number of civic petitions filed on Change.org were 800, 600, 650, 626 and 323 for Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai respectively. And while 63,798 people engaged with online petitions (signed them) on civic issues in Bengaluru, Mumbai was second with 50,972 people and Delhi third with 43,320 engagers. In the other metro cities, the numbers were less than 30,000 in terms of engagers.

Road congestion, lake clean-up and garbage collection dominated the most burning issues that mobilised people on Change.org India in Bengaluru. In Mumbai and Delhi by comparison, they were toll charges and roads, and pollution respectively.

Among the successful civic petitions in Bengaluru this year were those demanding increased frequency of Namma Metro, a pothole free Bengaluru and another one that demanded that BBMP review its pet ownership rules which limited the number of dogs one could have in an apartment.

However, does this mean that Bengalureans are engaging more on civic issues offline as well? Seema Sharma, a city-based activist working on waste management issues, said, “Online petitions do not mean that people instantly start working on them. And it also does not mean that the ones who work on the issues do so only due to the petition.”

Seema also pointed out a limitation of online petitions. “The reach of online campaigns is limited to only those who are interested, as mostly social media posts are now filtered according to personal choices,” she said. However, they do achieve one thing: “Even if the petitions do not result in the desired outcome, it informs people about issues that they were not aware of and that itself is a big deal. This can be a starting point that eventually translates into change,” Seema explained.

Pan India, however, civic issues was the fourth most popular area when it came to online petitioning, Change.org data revealed. The most popular one was women’s rights, which saw 28,206 petitions, and economic justice with 23,739 petitions raised on the platform for related causes. While 22,513 online petitions were started on environmental issues, civic issues-related petitions were close behind at 22,000. A total of 50,000 petitions were started on Change.org India on various issues this year.

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