I see nothing wrong in civil servants, ministers expressing themselves freely on social media: Jaitley

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday advocated for freehand to ministers and bureaucrats to express themselves on social media to make government functioning transparent.

His comments at the event to mark second anniversary of myGov app came against the backdrop of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) recently issuing draft service rules proposing to allow bureaucrats to participate freely on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin but criticism of government will still be a no-no.

The draft rules bar officers from making “criticism of government” on television, social media or any other communication application by any means, including a “caricature”.

“In the final decisions of the government, you should talk in one voice and it should be one decision,” Jaitley was quoted by PTI.

“But one strong asset which the social media has provided you is that before you reach that one decision there are multiple opinions which come.”

Social media providers alternate view points, criticisms, comments and suggestions, he said. “Therefore in a transparent government system, I see nothing wrong in civil servants expressing themselves freely, ministers expressing themselves freely.”

Airing opinion freely is how consultation process should take place. “Eventually the decision has to be one.”

Speaking about advantages of social media, he said previously only big metropolitan cities were looked at for opinion or suggestions but today with the advent of social media, opinions are freely available from schools, colleges, tier II, III and even downwards. “The youth are more informed.”

Talking about ways to propagate about government schemes like crop insurance, Jaitley said government should not leave any form of media as cost is limited and unlimited advantages like wide reach. .


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