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Centre to tread social media path

Published: 08th February 2013 09:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2013 09:44 AM   |  A+A-

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) is planning to start a new online programme, which will help the government to connect with people, especially youth, through social media.

The Digital Volunteer Programme would enlist support of citizens, who are active online. Union I&B Minister Manish Tewari said, “the initiative would enable the government to disseminate information to citizens, specially the youth of the country.” The government has been mulling ways to tap the potential of social media to engage with the country’s youth, who play a large role in shaping public opinion.

The recent mass protests following the Delhi gangrape case were strengthened by people connecting through social media sites. The protests made political analysts and the government take notice as hordes of students arrived at India Gate and took up the cause of safety of women in the country.

Sources said the government has been feeling that despite it spending over `1 lakh crore on various welfare schemes, it was not getting the desired publicity, and had a limited platform to engage with people.

Digital Volunteer Programme has been used by several NGOs and organisations for advocacy and effective during natural emergencies. Many people contribute to various causes by just passing on the information.

Ministry officials said, the initiative aims at disseminating the development messages across the social media platforms by registering citizens as volunteers so that they can contribute positively towards nation building. This would help the government to have a personalised interaction with the people, Tewari said.

As a first step to popularise the initiative -- taking cue from technocrat Sam Pitroda’s inititiave to hold the first-ever press conference on twitter -- the ministry would hold a press conference on community radio on Friday at 4 pm. The topic for the Twitter Conference is ‘Community Radio: Road Travelled & Way Forward’, and will use the hashtag #ComRadio. “This live Twitter Conference will give twitterati an opportunity to interact with ministry officials. The questions on the above mentioned topics would be answered by the officials of the Ministry. The official twitter account for the Ministry is @MIB_India. Tweeple can post their questions to the twitter account during the stipulated time and the ministry will answer them, the officials said.

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