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Planning Commission, Census 2011 and India Post using social media to understand people's pulse better

by Prasad Krishna last modified Sep 21, 2011 08:07 AM
Even as the Centre is drawing up guidelines to encourage government bodies to use social media, a handful of entities are showing how they can use Facebook, Twitter and more to connect with citizens better.

The Planning Commission, Census 2011, department of posts, and the ministry of external affairs have, over the past year, established a functional and active presence on social media: from inviting suggestions to answering questions, from creating awareness to initiating debates. "It is inevitable because the government should go where the people are," says Sunil Abraham, executive director at the Centre for Internet and Society, a policy research organisation.

For the past six months, Gopi Kumar Bulusu, the CEO of Sankhya Technologies, an IT products company in Visakhapatnam, has been a regular contributor on the plan panel's Facebook page for the upcoming 12th Plan. "It gives you an opportunity to talk economics and contribute based on the knowledge you have," says Bulusu, a serial blogger. Arun Maira, member, Planning Commission, says its Facebook page, set up in February, works as a sounding board for ideas that emerge from offline consultations held by its 160 working groups. "The reach of Facebook is immense but the richness of communication is not much," says Maira. "It gives you a sense of the crowd but you don't expect great nuggets of advice." Yet, the Commission intends to make this engagement an ongoing one. "We want to create a new way of planning that's not episodic," says Maira.

For the past six months, Gopi Kumar Bulusu, the CEO of Sankhya Technologies, an IT products company in Visakhapatnam, has been a regular contributor on the plan panel's Facebook page for the upcoming 12th Plan. "It gives you an opportunity to talk economics and contribute based on the knowledge you have," says Bulusu, a serial blogger. Arun Maira, member, Planning Commission, says its Facebook page, set up in February, works as a sounding board for ideas that emerge from offline consultations held by its 160 working groups. "The reach of Facebook is immense but the richness of communication is not much," says Maira. "It gives you a sense of the crowd but you don't expect great nuggets of advice." Yet, the Commission intends to make this engagement an ongoing one. "We want to create a new way of planning that's not episodic," says Maira.

The article by Vikas Kumar was published in the Economic Times on September 20, 2011. The original story can be read here.

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