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The idea of Twitter Governance

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    11th Apr, 2022

Context

Telangana government providing governance to the people of state using twitter as the medium of interaction.

Background

What is twitter governance?

  • The state government of Telangana has started using twitter as a forum for grievance redressal.
  • People of the state have been using twitter to raise issues with the Telangana government concerning health, education, cleanliness etc. and the same are addressed at the earliest by the officials and notified to the aggrieved individuals.
Twitter: It is a microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets". 

How effective has this initiative been?

  • People reaching out to the state government through the above route to a large extend have been receiving the required assistance.
  • The method was seen to be effective during the 1st and the 2nd wave of Covid, as state government could reach out to those sending SOS due to migrant and food crises in the state.

What are the merits of using social media to reach government?

  • Using social media to make one’s grievances heard by the government is easy and cost effective.
  • The only equipment required for the same are a smartphone and internet
  • Due to the increase in the digital workforce of government, it is more likely that the grievance would be received and addressed to the concerned department for appropriate action to be taken.
  • There is almost negligible time lag in the process of grievance being send and it reaching the government.
  • People may therefore reach the government and the vice-versa without brick and mortal apparatus of administration coming in to play.
  • The above therefore is truly creating the scenario of “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”.
  • As the person does not have to physically interact with the aggrieved individual, the scope of corruption drastically reduces.
  • As twitter is an open platform, follow-up of the grievance and evaluation of the government in terms of action taken by it to address the concern of the people may be evaluated.

Why relying on social media alone may not be a good idea?

  • In India, digital literacy is still low and therefore access to social media platforms such as twitter is limited.
  • The workforce allocated by the government in India to address grievances of people through social medium is still not optimum and increase in both their number and capabilities is needed.
  • Grievances on twitter may not be send by the aggrieved person to the concerned department and hence solution to his problem could only happen once he attends the concerned office in person.
  • There is no official means in India of holding a government personnel accountable for him not acting on a grievance received through social media.

Way forward:

  • Using twitter or other social media platforms for the purpose of addressing governance issues is a positive step but attention also needs to be paid to traditional methods of interaction between people and government.
  • Government servants need to be trained on getting grievances, whether received through online or offline medium, redressed at the earliest.
  • Administrators also need to empathize with the problems of the people, which would lead to them taking sincere efforts in providing relief to the citizens.
  • Right to Information Act needs to cover the grievances send to administrators through twitter, hence accountability of officials not acting on them could be fixed.
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