Government wants to be part of the social network

Published: 31 August, 2012 06:34 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh |

Even as the State comes down hard on some social media websites, a notice issued by the Union IT ministry encourages government departments to use the same channels to communicate with citizens

After pressing social media websites including Facebook and Twitter to remove ‘inflammatory’ content that it said had helped spread rumours causing an exodus of migrants from some cities, the government seems to realise the need to promote its correct usage. 

twitter birdThe Union Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology, through a notification issued on August 17, has asked for ‘effective citizen engagement and communication with all stakeholders using various offline as well as online channels including social media’.

The notification says that an immediate need has been felt to create frameworks for the use of social media to enable government agencies to undertake meaningful engagement with citizens as well as leverage social media platforms more effectively for the same.

Recently, Home Minister R R Patil had blamed social networking sites for the spread of rumours that led to the mass exodus of people from the north-eastern states.

“We are requesting the central government to help shut down social networking sites which were found to be involved in spreading rumors,” Patil had said.

The directive seems to be to spread the message that new initiatives are still being undertaken by the government that will involve the use of social media. Led by IT secretary Rajesh Agrawal, a team of officials has created a Facebook page ‘Aadhar Maharashtra’ which has already received close to 1,000 likes. An official attached to the department said that over 50,000 people have already viewed the page.

The page has features through which users can submit their contact details and later be communicated with updates from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Maharashtra team. It also has features that allow the user to get details of the enrollment centres nearest to them, download forms and request for SMS updates.

Similar steps will be taken soon in which many departments and state bodies will be asked to use channels offered by social media to communicate with citizens, said an official. Over eight million citizens are connected to the social media network, the official added, saying that the figure might increase if the state government decides to implement e-governance and use social media for effective interaction.  

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