New Delhi, March 24, 2015: With a tweet inviting Indians to give him a 'missed call' to connect with him, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) launched ‘Twitter Samvad’, a service aimed to boost the nation’s e-governance plans by helping government bodies and leaders communicate directly with citizens on a daily basis via Tweets and SMS on their mobile devices.
And Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was beside him, to help kick-start the initiative, arguably the first ever, Tweet-powered e-governance service anywhere.
Ironically, even as the tweet governance service was rolling out, India's top court struck down draconian provisions of the Indian Information Technology Act which opened lay citizens to arbitrary arrest based on vague considerations of causing annoyance,injury, insult etc through INternet and social media. ( We have a separate story on this development, above)
Through Twitter Samvad, every day a set of curated Tweets will be delivered from the government and leaders’ accounts to mobile users across the country as SMS. Updates on government services, policies and activities can be delivered to any user with a mobile device signed up for the service with each of the 16 launch partners. Anyone with a mobile phone, with our without a data plan, can register for the service by giving a missed call to a unique number for each of the partners.
Twitter Samvad can also be used during the time of emergency with the ability to deliver live updates by government bodies including time sensitive information like law and order situations as well as details about any rescue efforts.
Said Dick Costolo: “Based on Indian technological innovation, Twitter Samvad is dedicated and specially built for the largest democracy of the world. The Lok Sabha election of 2014 was the first-ever Twitter Election in India and we want to continue contributing to the development of digital governance in India. 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.”
Added Rishi Jaitly, Twitter’s Market Director for India and Southeast Asia: “We are proud to have launched a service here that is for the people and of the people. This can eventually give every political leader and every government organization a mobile microphone to connect with each Indian, whether in Imphal or in Diu or in Leh or in Pudducherry.”
Twitter Samvad is based on the platform provided by ZipDial, an Indian company recently acquired by Twitter, making this the company’s first Indian service launched using indigenous technology.
Sixteen government partners who are participating in the launch of Twitter Samvad.