The recent proliferation of digital technologies for development has led to a new paradigm of state‐citizen relations in which technology mediates the citizens' interactions with the agencies of government. The use of digital technologies has enabled the state to effectively distinguish between the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor, so as to parse the digital subject that is worthy of the state’s projects of governmentality. However, the top‐down use of technology occurs within a specific value system that is oblivious to contextual reality and does not question existing power asymmetries. Recent initiatives in northern India have questioned the state’s use of such technologies to devalue the agency of the poor and their autonomous capacity to contribute to development policy and practice. This Commentary will briefly examine two examples from India, where citizens’ movements have reshaped the terms of engagement through the medium of digital technologies, towards creating a more responsive state. Such initiatives have the potential to reframe the very objectives from the perspective of the affected people, and to reclaim digital technologies towards promoting equity.
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