The value of associating a brand name with an event that can truly change the destiny of a nation is immeasurable. Tata Tea, one of India’s most well-known brands of tea, is partnering with nonprofit Janaagraha to launch the One Billion Votes campaign. The aim is to create a platform to motivate the huge population of young people in India to vote in the next general elections in April 2009 – that’s a potential target group of almost 4 million people. In its first phase, the campaign will target youth in 35 of the country’s largest cities, and will use the internet as a tool to facilitate voter registrations and disseminate relevant information about the elections. Apparently the online voter registration form will have GIS capability. There’s more on the campaign website, called Jaago Re.
I think it’s a pathbreaking initiative. For a country of 1 billion, using technology to make an already active democracy even better is something that should not just be encouraged but required. I worked with Janaagraha briefly a few years ago and they are slowly but steadily changing the outlook of India’s urban voters, equipping them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions as voters. When you consider the size of the country and the current state of politics, that’s an amazing achievement. Good on them, and good on Tata Tea for supporting this initiative, I say.