Social media’s role in governance highlighted

Social media an opportunity to achieve transparent, participatory governance, says telecom secretary

pratap

Pratap Vikram Singh | February 7, 2013



Social media has brought about a paradigm shift in governance, having introduced a demand-driven approach to e-governance, which was till date supply-driven and implemented in a top-down fashion, according to telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar.

"India has close to 1 billion mobile subscribers (and) broadband is the next revolution. This has led to an addition of virtual middle class, as stated by Thomas Friedman at the recent TERI summit. This class is young, highly aspirational and impatient," Chandrashekhar said at the ‘Governance 2.0’ conference organised in the capital on Thursday.

Besides, people are also asserting their right to participate in governance, he said.

According to Chandrashekhar, unlike in many western countries where IT preceded the internet revolution, the Indian government could not throw itself open to citizens because it was neither prepared technologically nor on the administrative front. "Frankly, the work is still in progress," he added.

With the advent of demand-driven e-governance and the emergence of social media, the “goalpost”, or citizen’s expectations from the government, is always shifting, making it a huge challenge for the authorities, Chandrashekhar said.

The telecom secretary said this could, however, be taken as an opportunity to realise e-governance: "We can bring in social media interface to e-governance.”

He also lamented the lack of trust within the government while collaborating with the private sector. This mistrust, he said, will increase suspicion and lead to institutional destruction.

According to Chandrashekhar, the Indian IT industry is highly competent but the country has not been able to channelise this expertise in governance. "This has not been a happy story for the government, industry and the citizens," he conceded.

"Public-private partnerships (PPP) have run into difficulties not just in e-governance but also in other areas," he said. "The government needs to trust in PPP, though with due diligence.”

The partnership requires a high degree of fairness and transparency, which can be brought in through social media, Chandrshekhar suggested.

governancenow.com is a media partner for the event

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