Twitter Samvad to keep the govt.-citizen conversation going

Curated tweets, text messages to reach cellphone users daily

March 25, 2015 01:23 am | Updated 01:23 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The Union government launched a new platform, in association with Twitter, on Tuesday for direct communication among leaders, government agencies and citizens through tweets and text messages, helping boost e-governance plans.

To start with, the service has 16 partners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi; the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, Chandrababu Naidu, Anandiben Patel, Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee, respectively; the Railway Ministry; and the Bengaluru City Police.

“Based on Indian technological innovation, Twitter Samvad is dedicated [to], and specially built, for the largest democracy of the world. As part of the Prime Minister’s Digital India initiative, this tweet-powered service enables citizens to be the first to know about the government’s actions by receiving political content in real-time on their mobile devices anywhere in the country,” said Dick Costolo, chief executive officer of Twitter, who met Mr. Modi on Tuesday.

Through Twitter Samvad, a set of curated Tweets will be delivered every day from the accounts of the government and the leaders to mobile-phone users across the country as text messages. The service can come in handy during emergencies as government agencies can share live updates, even time-sensitive information on law and order or rescue.

Twitter Samvad is based on a platform provided by ZipDial, an Indian company recently acquired by Twitter, making this its first Indian service launched using indigenous technology.

An official statement said that during the meeting with Mr. Costolo, the Prime Minister spoke about avenues through which Twitter could help in initiatives such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme, not just by providing a platform but also by initiating a prolonged effort to support these initiatives.

“He urged Twitter to help promote India’s rich tourist potential across the world,” the statement said.

Mr. Modi said Twitter should tap into India’s linguistic diversity and offer services to draw people from various linguistic backgrounds to the platform.

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