Australia: Having Our Say about India, the World’s Largest Democracy

What lies ahead for India, which is not just the largest democracy but will soon have the biggest population?

You can join the discussion of The World's Largest Democracy at Australia’s vibrant social media site, OurSay.

It’s the latest in their online participatory democracy initiative:

This video explains how works:

In this case, the World’s Largest Democracy forum runs until November 29, 2012.

There are 34 questions with 3 weeks to go. The first question posted by Glen Clark was very topical:

Just as Prime-Minister Julia Gillard visited India recently to talk up a uranium export deal, India's own Auditor-General has warned of a “dangerously unsafe, disorganised” nuclear industry with “ineffective” oversight. Many Australians don't want to see their uranium partly responsible for future nuclear disasters which could potentially kill thousands and displace millions in the world's second most populous country. Wouldn't it be better to leave Australian uranium in the ground and instead help India develop decentralised renewables to solve its energy needs?

Glen is a previous winner when OurSay partnered with ABC TV's Q&A program after the 2011 Federal budget.

The most popular at present comes from Jan Stewart with 219 votes and 4 comments so far:

What is the single most impactful action Indian women can take for India's benefit?

Jan is a host and manager at Hub Melbourne ‘a professional member community that exists to drive innovation through collaboration’. She asked her first question of Julia Gillard for the Prime Minister’s Google+ Hangout on 21 July 2012.

Carolyn Tate, who asked a question of independent members of the House of Representatives in an earlier forum, left this comment in response to Jan’s question:

I was in India 5 years ago with Opportunity International on a field trip to meet Indian women running their own businesses from micro-financing loans. Helping Indian women to become successful, independent business owners in their communities is the most powerful way we can impact their nation!

A newcomer to OurSay, Susanna Julian, recalls the controversy surrounding a number of violent incidents including the murder of an Indian student in Melbourne:

Since the 2009 violence against Indian students in Australia was well published in India, Australian government departments have made many efforts to rebuild the relationship between the Australian Government and the Indian public. We need to deepen this relationship between everyday Indians and Australians. What is the biggest challenge to the Australian public's relationship with Indian public and civil society and what recommendations do you have for improving this relationship?

Many of the questions pick up on recent political developments. Stephen Manallack brings an educational perspective:

What do you think of the Asian Century report recommending schools teach Hindi in Australia? My feeling is cross-cultural understanding is more important – hence I like student exchanges and would encourage young executive exchanges as well.

It drew this comment from Angela Knox who has been active since May:

Spot on. And the study of Asian histories and culture: there's not one ‘Asian culture’ and this new campaign shouldn't be driven by economic considerations alone.

There have been lots of issues raised so far including: human rights, the economy, corruption, multinational miners, land appropriation, social inequality, poverty, the environment, health and family planning.

Anyone, from any country, can ask a question and post comments. The Oursay team are especially looking froward to participation from India.

Please use all 7 votes. Yes, 7 votes! Give them to your favorite Q or spread them around.

This week was shortlisted for THE YAHOO! GOLD STANDARD ‘INTERNET FOR GOOD’ AWARD 2012.

[Personal disclosure: I have posted a question in the World’s Largest Democracy forum.]


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