Sh. Kapil Sibal – the Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology chaired a Round Table on Citizen Engagement and Use of Social Media here today. The Round Table was attended by about 100 stakeholders including social media organizations, civil society organizations, industry associations, members of legal fraternity, representatives of government departments and agencies and others. The discussion in the Round Table focused on:
Ways of improving citizen engagement in policy formulation and implementation of its projects and programmes
- Requirement of capacity building within government for use of social media
- Contextualising social media to Indian realities including Indian language content
- Development of Mechanisms to protect privacy and identity of individuals
- Mechanism to address security concerns about data including personal data
All stakeholders were in favour of increased use of social media as it was felt to be an important instrument in initiating dialogue with citizens in a participatory democracy. Sh. Sibal agreed with their views and felt that such close interactions not only build healthy democratic practices but also contribute to transparent and accountable governance. Sh Sachin Pilot, MoS for Communications and Information Technology, stressed on the need of creating enabling mechanisms which would help people from all parts of our country to participate in their own language and in the form of their choice i.e. text based, voice based or even sign based. The proposal received support from all present and it was stressed that technologies should enable participation of differently abled individuals also. The need for convergence of different channels of communication e.g. print, electronics, social media etc. and need for synergies between these channels was also expressed. It was agreed that appropriate mechanisms need to be created within government structures to enable faster response as required by social media based interactions.