This is the first time in India’s political history that a government has a tech-oriented Prime Minister with 22 of his Cabinet ministers and 43 of his 50 ministries actively using Twitter to engage with citizens
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | May 27, 2016
The NDA Government has completed two years in power. During this time the government has been using Twitter as one of the crucial platforms to interact and connect with citizens.
A statement released by Twitter India says that this is the first time in India’s political history that a government has a tech-oriented Prime Minister with 22 of his Cabinet ministers and 43 of his 50 ministries actively using Twitter to engage with citizens, update them on government policies, and connect with them through live conversations. In fact, 95 per cent of the ministers in the Modi Government are active on Twitter.
Modi is implementing his vision of ‘minimum government maximum governance’ via Twitter. One of the world’s most Twitter savvy leaders, Modi’s follower base has grown 400 per cent from 4 million followers to 20 million since he was sworn in as Prime Minister.
Over the last two years, the NDA Government has used Twitter effectively for transparent and accountable governance. The ministries leading this charge are doing so using Twitter Seva, a customised e-governance delivery service developed for the Indian government.
“Though it is not the first time that a politician has used the platform to connect with Indian citizens, this one is definitely one of the most effective interactions that we are seeing. Earlier too, ministers have used Twitter to come closer to their voters,” said Raheel Khursheed, in-charge of News, Government and Political Partnerships, Twitter India. He agreed that earlier, too, ministers like Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) and Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) have used Twitter effectively to share regular updates and to interact with users.
Khursheed added, “Each minister or ministry uses the platform in a way that suits their communication goal. PM Modi (@narendramodi) is our most interactive Prime Minister till date, and Digital Governance has been a priority on his agenda since he was sworn in as PM. Hence, he has used Twitter in multiple ways – for transparency, to launch flagship Twitter-powered campaigns, to lead the charge in encouraging his Cabinet to use Twitter to communicate, and for Digital Diplomacy. This makes his use of Twitter multi-layered, interactive, personal, and focused on changing the way his government communicates, resolves complaints and improves services for the people of the country.”
As an India-first innovation, Twitter Seva is currently being used by the Ministry of Commerce (@DIPPGOI), the Ministry of External Affairs (@MEAIndia), the Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia), with more ministries to follow. These ministries have changed how the Government and citizens interact and have redefined the customer service culture in their respective public sectors.
Twitter Seva helps process large volume of tweets, converts them into resolvable tickets and assigns them to the relevant authority for real-time resolution. The service is driving efficient and effective customer service as well as collation of real-time citizen feedback. Along with the personal accounts of ministers, the ministries are providing live assistance via a range of official handles (@CimGOI, @ctopassportseva, @eesl_india) and hashtags (#mociseva, #passportseva).
Khursheed explained the purpose of Twitter Seva, saying, “We are involved in constant conversations with various ministries and ministers to use the platform in a more cohesive way. We gauge the gaps in communication and outreach strategy and come up with innovations on the platform to help the government make better use of the platform. To support stable and smooth governance, Twitter has introduced Twitter Seva, a first of its kind product from Twitter’s stables worldwide. Through a dashboard, Twitter Seva increases the ministry’s Twitter outreach by processing large volume of Tweets at one time.”
Some active Twitter happy Ministers
Some examples of usage of the platform by the ministers include Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) who has been actively using Twitter to help citizens during hours of crisis. She has been personally connecting with stranded Indians abroad and has been providing instant support in times of need. Powered by Twitter Seva, the MEA and its 130 Twitter accounts across the world help the Ministry with amplifying its outreach.
On Twitter, Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman), Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, is one of the most interactive ministers in the NDA government. She launched Twitter Seva to power a real-time support ecosystem for the start-up community in India with the service now consistently responding to queries that pour in on various subjects including entrepreneurship, policies for NRIs, and investment opportunities. The government’s #MakeInIndia initiative became the first non-US brand to get a Twitter emoji and it was launched in the presence of Sitharaman at Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s (@sureshpprabhu) response to Tweets from passengers has been refreshingly swift. The minister’s Twitter account coupled with the @RailMinIndia account has been a one-stop redressal mechanism for passengers of Indian Railways.
As the most active Indian political leader on the platform, PM Modi has also used Twitter extensively to connect with world leaders, to make public announcements for flagship government campaigns, and to address citizens and their needs throughout the country. All seven of his flagship programs have an active presence on Twitter. The Government has used Twitter’s platform for live communications to involve citizens for policy feedback. His Tweet-powered campaigns such as #MakeInIndia, #MannKiBaat, #SwachhBharat, #SelfieWithDaughter, #MyCleanIndia, and #TransformingIndia, are examples of how he has used Twitter to reach and connect with Indian and global audiences.