Govt. servants told to avoid social media for official work

Picture for representation purpose only.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

In a move perceived as a counter to the action initiated by the Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi against a Puducherry Civil Service (PCS) cadre for posting an objectionable video clip in an official WhatsApp group, the Chief Minister has directed government servants “not to use social media for interaction with seniors bypassing the administrative hierarchy and routine official channel.”

In a circular signed by M. Kannan, Under Secretary to Government, on Monday, Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy directed all government officers, employees of societies and organisations run by the territorial administration to desist from using social media for official work.

“No group shall be formed for official communication and they should not be members of any official group run in such social media nor interact with seniors bypassing the administrative hierarchy and routine channel,” the circular said.

However, if is ‘essential and unavoidable,’ social media platform could be used after obtaining a written permission from the Chief Secretary.

Disciplinary action

The government had warned of disciplinary and penal action as per rules in force in case of violation of the directive.

A senior government official said the order was predicated on existing IT Minister regulations.

Though the government sought to buttress the order on the security risk as the servers of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and other social media are based outside the country and there were chances of hacking, it has been interpreted by many as a move by the Chief Minister to check the officialdom from getting direct instructions from Ms. Bedi on WhatsApp.

At the time of the launch of various WhatsApp groups by the Lieutenant Governor months ago, the Chief Minister had voiced his concerns about the use of social media platform. “The intent of issuing such a circular was not just to dissuade officers from using social media platform for official correspondence but to also reassert the administrative hierarchy structures. The circular has now made it clear that they should not take orders directly from the Lieutenant Governor’s office,” said a senior official.

Weekend work

Along with the ban on using social media platform for official communication, the Chief Minister had made it clear that government servants should not be compelled to work on weekends when the Lieutenant Governor conducts inspections.

“It is left to the discretion of officials to decide on working during weekends,” Mr. Narayanasamy told reporters after a late-night cabinet meeting on Monday.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 2:28:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/Govt.-servants-told-to-avoid-social-media-for-official-work/article16986671.ece

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