Monday, 30th October 2017

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Hemant turns Twitter into instant-governance tool

The CM takes up complaints and directs officials to resolve them and update him on Twitter

By Animesh Bisoee in Ranchi and Jamshedpur
  • Published 17.01.20, 12:49 AM
  • Updated 17.01.20, 12:49 AM
  • 3 mins read
  •  
Chief minister Hemant Soren Telegraph picture

  • The month-old infant of a homeless woman was allegedly sold to a childless couple near Tatanagar station recently. The news came out in a local vernacular on January 8 morning. By noon, the infant was found and the mother and baby were admitted to the government hospital. Because chief minister Hemant Soren’s official Twitter handle had tweeted the article and tagged the handle of the East Singhbhum deputy commissioner (DC) around 9am, ordering prompt action.
  • A resident of Simdega on January 11 tagged the CM’s handle, @HemantSorenJMM, that there was no mobile network in Bolba and Koromiya panchayats for six years in the district. The CM’s handle immediately tagged the Simdega DC. Four days later, the Simdega DC tagged the CM’s handle, informing about BSNL towers being erected at Bolba panchayat and promised similar towers in other places facing network woes.
  • On January 15, the CM tagged the external affairs ministry and Union minister S. Jaishankar, requesting the body of a Sindri youth be repatriated from Abu Dhabi.

Twitter, usually used for politicians for propaganda, is now being used for quick solutions by the newly elected chief minister Hemant Soren, whose coalition government rode to power on the promise of people-centric governance.

The tweet to the Simdega DC
The tweet to the Simdega DC

JMM general secretary and party spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya told The Telegraph that the Twitter handle of the chief minister is managed by a group of two-three professionals with “vast experience in policy decisions and charting advisories for elected representatives, researchers and academicians in people-centric public policies”.

On average six to eight problems are tagged to Hemant’s Twitter handle every day. The chief minister takes up complaints and directs officials to resolve them and update him on Twitter.

“The (CM’s social media) team has highly qualified people with degrees from prestigious institutions such as the University of Oxford, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, and TISS Mumbai. However, Hemantji does the overall supervision. His personal secretary Sunil Srivastava helps him,” Bhattacharya said.

A source said this was more or less the same team of “backroom boys” that worked with Hemant in the Assembly elections.JMM general secretary and party spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya told The Telegraph that the Twitter handle of the chief minister is managed by a group of two-three professionals with “vast experience in policy decisions and charting advisories for elected representatives, researchers and academicians in people-centric public policies”.

On average six to eight problems are tagged to Hemant’s Twitter handle every day. The chief minister takes up complaints and directs officials to resolve them and update him on Twitter.

“The (CM’s social media) team has highly qualified people with degrees from prestigious institutions such as the University of Oxford, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, and TISS Mumbai. However, Hemantji does the overall supervision. His personal secretary Sunil Srivastava helps him,” Bhattacharya said.

A source said this was more or less the same team of “backroom boys” that worked with Hemant in the Assembly elections. 

The woman who was reunited with her newborn
The woman who was reunited with her newborn Telegraph picture

Though it is early days yet, an official in the CM’s office (CMO) claimed there was a difference in how Twitter was used by the previous Raghubar Das government and how Hemant uses it.

“Earlier Twitter was used for government propaganda. The current dispensation wants Twitter as a tool of governance and leverages technology for quick solutions to citizens’ problems,” said the CMO official.

CM connects on Twitter

“Social media gives direct access to leaders and masses alike, free of red tape,” the CMO official said.

One of the members of the core group of the CM’s social managers, who did not want to be named, said: “The chief minister has made it clear that the Twitter handle should be proactively used to give a strong message of connect to people’s voices.”

He added that unlike Facebook, Twitter is more focused towards policy, governance and influencers.

“We keenly monitor the CM’s Twitter handle to observe the issues that people raise and the potential impact of each issue. Issues requiring urgent intervention are chosen after a nod from the chief minister. The focus is on people. Till the time exhaustive reviews of the district administration are done, monitoring problems and action-taken through Twitter ensures that a strong message of accountability permeates at all levels,” he said.

Once a problem is tagged to a DC, the team waits for five-six hours to see what action the bureaucrat takes. “If there’s no response, the CM’s personal secretary (Sunil Srivastava) directly speaks to the DC,” said the member of the core group. “But this arrangement is ad-hoc. After a full cabinet is formed, the standard operating protocols would be in place.”