“India is a land of 1.2 billion people. Sixty-five percent of the Indian population lives in villages.
600,000 villages with diversified religion, culture and beliefs and low level of literacy. Its a task by itself to bring them together on common platform. To achieve such goals number of multiple process and mechanism must work in tandem.
Yet governments at the centre and state have been working hard to provide a Information Technology infrastructure at urban and also grass root level at villages.
Presently there about 137 million internet users in India. 44 million smartphone users, Facebook users are 65 million. And India had around 18 million Twitter accounts .India will reach somewhere in the vicinity of 250-350 million Internet users by 2015.
With all the above mentioned data, Internet, social media has a power to contribute to the growth of India. Government has chalked out a plan and few many things have been IT and social media initiatives have been implemented to reach and serve its citizen using social media. The following paragraphs will discuss about the social media initiatives of Government:
Indian Prime Minister‟s Office –PMO has made its presence felt at Twitter with about 50,000 followers. This means Government has opened up channel for common people to reach PM. Without itself being present on social media as it was earlier, citizens had way to directly connect tot PM‟s office.
Recently PMO was also present itself on Facebook and YouTube. This again helps common people to stay connected with PM and also YouTube helps PM to reach its people by uploading a PM speeches which spells out plans for development and other benefits for people.
Karnataka government has Facebook presence regarding its youth policy initiative by the Department of Youth Services and Sports, Government of Karnataka. This is useful in communicating to youth about State‟s policy. Youth Policy takes inspiration from National Youth Policy to formulate an integrated youth policy that is in sync with the changing socio-economic conditions of the youth of the State.
Government of Karnataka is on Facebook to inform the citizens about governments various s developmental schemes. Other government departments have also been encouraged to utilize social media network to serve and reach citizens. Few government departments are:
KSRTC: Karnataka state road transport corporation – This is a government of Karnataka official transport corporation which runs about 25.79 lakhs effective kilometers transporting about 25 lakh people per day. KSRTC‟s on social media is again a customer and passenger friendly initiative. KSRTC has also online reservations system which Internet dependent.
Bangalore Traffic police is another government department on Facebook. Here, Facebook presence of Traffic police has helped in establishing a communication channel to interact with common people about Do’s and Don’ts of traffic rules. and safety aspects. Social media also has helped people to post their road users issues on the media. This has helped in quickly resolving the issues related with road and traffic. Police has made arrangements for people to post traffic violations on the social media. This would enable police department to initiate action against the offender and importantly with people participation and social media vigilance becomes more intense.
Karnataka examinations authority –KEA is an official state examinations authority handling examinations concerned with graduate, postgraduate and other higher education examination related activities. KEA also handles most of the competitive entrance examination concerned with undergraduate and PG students. KEA interacts with nearly 5.0 lakh students and their eligibility criteria and qualification. KEA is again on Facebook which has reached million of students through Facebook. This yet another example of governments departments utilizing power of social media to reach its target.
Department of Survey, Settlement & Land Records Government of Karnataka is also on Facebook which caters to the needs of people who seek services of surveys of lands and access to land records.
Bangalore Electricity company –BESCOM is also a Government participated department which supplies electricity to 20 million households and industrial customers. BESCOM connects its customers through social media – Facebook.
Bangalore water supply and sewage board: BWSSB is a government of Karnataka authority for drinking water and drainage- Government Organization -The Bangalore Water Supply And Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is committed to providing drinking water of unquestionable quality in sufficient quantity and to treat the sewage generated to the required standards. BWSSB reaches and connects its large million customers with help of social media like Facebook and Twitter. Here customers can reach the concerned officials through social media.
B B M P (Bruth Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) is a government of Karnataka department responsible for all civil infrastructures. BBMP handles its large number of varied customers for various works. BBMP is also utilizing social media like Facebook to connect its customers.
Social media boom happened in 2012. According to research the number of Indian Facebook users swelled by 14 million in the past six months. While internet penetration in India is just 11% around 137million users make the country third biggest in terms of Internet -connected citizens. Most of these users are urban and young. Research says 75% of web users here are under-35. Indians are politically active on the web. Research study this established that nearly 45% of Indian web users, most of them from urban areas, connect on social media to discuss politics.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) opened its Twitter account under the name “Indian Diplomacy” which is a verified account with more than 7,000 as of present. The efforts of MEA have been appreciated by many during the recent crisis to evacuate Indian nationals from Libya as information was relayed on a regular basis. There is also a YouTube account created as well which hosts more than 50 documentary films on various subjects and has received more than 19,000 hits.
Indian Postal service, world‟s largest postal network took to Twitter to connect to its users and citizens. They have been answering to queries posted by users related to service and how it can be used easily. They currently have more than 6,500 followers. In Addition, the government department also launched an exceptional “ePost Office” which would add up as an e-Commerce platform in the future.
Various government schemes for social welfare have been on Facebook , the purpose is to reach out youth and have direct interaction with government. Even heads of the government‟s are making their presence on the social media.
Banks and financial institutions do also have social media presence: Indian jobs scene has gone through tremendous change over in recent years. Education levels have been impressive and Information technology jobs are plentifully available. Young customers and at the same time are technologically aware and also in possession of high end mobile handsets. All these have made bank and financial institutions to offer their services and products on social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube. Banks offer customers with a variety of apps, product information, and utilize this platform to increase financial literacy. Banks utilize this space to manage our online reputation. Digital marketing is catching up fast with banks offering many products and facilities on social media.
In disaster management social media has been extensively used in situations like the Mumbai terrorist attacks and the swine flu pandemic .During Mumbai attacks people utilized social media to know the location and donate blood to needy Tweets were sent right form site of the tragedy.
E-Governance is another term which has been given due importance since evolution of Information technology and Information and Communication Technology(ICT). Electronic-governance (E-Governance) is defined as application of Information and communication technology in delivering the government services, government transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between Government-to-Citizens (G2C), Government-to-Business(G2B),Government-to-Government( G2G) as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government departments.
Elections and social media is another important medium for government connecting to people specifically younger generation. During general elections politicians these days have been liberally using Facebook and twitter. As we know You tube has been extensively used by one of the governments to showcase all the speeches and developmental programmes taken up by the governments This video has been quite popular among youth.
Census – The process of counting of population was taken to social media as well to ask citizens to fill in their information accurately and in full during the time of visit of an enumerator. The initiative was launched on Facebook and Twitter with an on ground campaign in the offing as well. The Facebook page currently has more than 14,000 likes and Twitter profile has nearly 500 followers.
Planning Commission of India – Planning Commission of India have been using its Facebook page to ask users to submit their expectations and ideas for the twelfth five year plan (2012 – 2017). Following the ideas, they would be included in the approach paper to be approved by cabinet and National Development Council.
137 million internet users in India. 44 million Smartphone users, Facebook users are 65 million. And India had around 18 million Twitter accounts .India will reach somewhere in the vicinity of 250-350 million Internet users by 2015. Indian citizens will have highly transparent government and interactive politicians. Social media has a important role to play in terms of connecting to people, awareness about welfare schemes, local area development activity, monetary spending transparency. Social media is here to stay and developing countries are going to be major beneficiaries of the social media movement.” – M.S. Rajesh – Bangalore, India