September 18, 2008

‘Jaago Re! One Billion Votes Campaign’ awakens young India!

Tata Tea and Janaagraha come together with a unique initiative to motivate and enable Indian Youth to vote

Mumbai: Tata Tea, India’s largest tea company by volume, today announced that it has joined hands with Janaagraha, a Bangalore based not-for-profit organisation that has been doing pioneering work in the areas of urban advocacy and governance. The objective of the partnership is to create a platform that will motivate the vast numbers of Indian youth to participate actively in the electoral process of the country. The initiative is named ‘Jaago Re! One Billion Votes’ and aims at awakening the youth of this country to the importance of exercising their right to vote as a means to bring about the change they seek.

The Jaago Re! campaign which was initiated last year now takes a new leap. From challenging the qualifications of a politician to run the country, the campaign now seeks to empower the youth to influence polity by exercising their right to vote.

Speaking at the launch Mr.T.S. Krishnamurthy, Ex Chief Election Commissioner of India said, “This is a momentous occasion as it signals a change whose time has come. The scale at which the initiative aims to impact the involvement of youth in the electoral process of the country will have a far reaching and lasting impact on the future of the country. I am glad that this initiative comes with the support of a Tata group company and that of an NGO such as Janaagraha, which guarantees that the initiative will result in sustainable solutions.”

Speaking about Tata Tea’s commitment towards the initiative, Ms. Sangeeta Talwar, Executive Director- Marketing, Tata Tea, said, “We launched the Jaago Re campaign last year in line with our vision to transform tea from a medium of mere physical and mental rejuvenation to a medium of social awakening. The campaign which received both critical acclaim as well as very positive consumer feedback has set us on a journey to connect with the heart, mind and soul of young India’s emerging social consciousness.  This year the focus of the Jaago Re! campaign is to awaken the youth to the power that lies in their hands - the power to influence, the power to choose, the power to vote! The Jaago Re site enables registration of voters thus helping to them to be a part of the electoral process and hence be key agents for positive change in our democracy.”

Janaagraha brings its comprehensive knowledge on electoral processes, and structured citizen participation as key elements of the Jaago Re! One Billion Votes campaign. Janaagraha’s main line of advocacy is to improve the systemic nature of problems related to management, maintenance and the use of voter rolls. On the other hand Tata Tea will facilitate the process and provide all the necessary support needed for the mammoth project. It is a perfect example of corporate-public partnership aimed at bringing about meaningful change in the society.

L-R Ramesh and Swati Ramanathan Janagraha-Sangeeta Talwar ED Mktg Tata Tea-T S Krishnamurthy former Chief Election Commissioner India

Ramesh Ramanathan, Co-founder of Janaagraha, speaking at the launch said “One of Janaagraha’s central tenets is that in the alphabet of democracy we cannot move from the letter “E” to “F”- elect and forget – we need to stay on the letter “E”- elect and engage. But many of us have not even worked our way up to “E”. In a democracy, our most powerful identity is the political identity of a voter. Yet most of us neglect this identity the most, either out of cynicism or out of fear of the hurdles involved in exercising our right to vote. Jaago Re! One Billion Votes is a clarion call, especially to the youth, to jettison the cynicism and take the first step towards citizenship - it unleashes the power of one billion voices in nation building.”

At the crux of the initiative is the website which will be the one stop site for all voters’ needs. The site along with mobile service technology and IVR support will provide any user an end to end  platform to facilitate voter registration, informing voters of which constituency they fall under and  the of their polling booth, etc. For the first time in India, will host an online voter registration engine to allow citizens across the country to fill their voter registration forms in 5 mins and also get driving directions to submit this form in their city. Hence, the Jaago Re One! Billion Votes campaign is not only a call to action but a platform which provides any potential voter all the information and facilitation he or she needs to become part of the electoral process.

While this campaign caters to the entire nation, certain services of the website will initially be available for those residing in the top 35 Indian cities and towns (7 Metros and 28 Class 1 towns), which account for 30% of the urban population. Going forward these services will be made available across the country in a phased manner.

The campaign seeks to partner with other corporates, media groups, academic institutions and civil society organizations to make this India’s largest ever effort on voter registration. The initiative will be strongly supported by on ground activities in the form of institutional outreach, which will span more than 11 key cities and will serve to directly communicate with the target audience in college campuses as well as corporates. NGOs such as Lok Satta Aandolan and PRIA are partnering for outreach of this campaign.

Tata Tea brand advertising for the year will focus on creating awareness and inspiring the youth of this country to participate in the voting process thereby creating rapid and mass awareness for the campaign. 

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