Good governance for a better future

Updated: Aug 11 2014, 06:56am hrs
The advent of social media is transforming the way the world is communicating and how information is exchanged and distributed. Public sector organisations are taking advantage of a proven strategy for embracing innovative technologies to better serve constituents. Any strategy designed to empower governments through modernisation must include social networking components. Social networks are changing the way citizens interact with each other and with all types of organisations. This makes it important for government agencies to understand the social media conversations constituents engage in to learn about problems and gain ideas about new services. It has become natural for citizens to voice strong opinions, whether they are speaking as consumers or constituents.

In many world economies, social media innovations are being used to drive political communication. It acts as a catalyst for good governancebe it for appreciation or to voice concerns, distribute news, inspire action or metamorphose into a modern day government. Both, citizens and government are actively using social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) solutions.

Globally, policy makers have identified benefits of social media under four pillars:

Open information: public information published in easy-to-find, easy-to-use ways.

Open feedback: give everyone their fair say

Open conversation: engagement between citizens and civil service.

Open innovation: bring innovative concepts into mainstream practice.

As the channels of social media platforms expand, there has been a need felt by government agencies internationally to design a HUB that can act as a single source for all social interactions. The design principles of a social media HUB are based on the need to enable aggregation of content fed from multiple social engagement tools enabling a government agency to have a holistic view of the overall brand reputation, enable centralised actions, build data analytics and understand citizen sentiments.

Closer home in India, we are witnessing an evolution in our social media savvy citizens. To add to it, we have a new government that is actively mobilising its team to embrace social as a tool to deliver good governance. This government has acknowledged social as a communication imperative and has reported to be setting up departments that will standardise the use of SMAC technologies as part of its programme E-Kranti, to drive the next phase of e-governance.

The idea is based on the premise that public sector information is a resource. Its dissemination will maximise its social/economic value to citizens. The outcome of this vision is nothing less than the internet becoming the enabler that facilitates radical reform of a public sector culture and governance structure.

While the adoption of social media has been gradual in the Indian government, mainly due to multiple legacy factors, we are observing some ministries taking a leap. Social media has been initiated by the Prime Ministers Office, Information & Broadcasting dept, Police dept, Ministry of External Affairs etc. with the broad objectives of understanding constituent sentiments, enhancing citizen service delivery and information management.

With proper policies in place, better understanding of social tools and adoption of appropriate technologies, the benefits of using, tracking and analysing social conversations, for a diverse nation like ours, are far too many to ignore. We are hopeful that with the use of such emerging technologies,

India will not only see a truly modern government bridge the gap between them and their citizens, but also encourage citizens and the government to work hand-in-hand to promote Good Governance for a better future.

Vineet Kshirsagar

The writer is senior director & Group Head Government Business, Oracle India