September 3, 2012

Internet connects netizens with policy makers

We’re constantly inspired by the power of Internet, and how it can enable organizations and individuals to connect and communicate. Social platforms have enabled interactions between politicians and citizens. Understanding how crucial this has become in a large democracy like India, Gujarat Chief Minister, Shri Narendra Modi interacted with people from across the world via a live Google+ Hangout for 2 hours on Friday, August 31.

The interaction was broadcast live on the CM’s YouTube channel and his Google+ page, making him the first Indian politician to debut on Google+ Hangouts, an application that facilitates group video chat with up to 10 people. The theme of the Hangout session was 'Strong and Glorious India Long Cherished by Swami Vivekananda', and the Chief Minister’s team received close to 20,000 questions over the course of 3 weeks. These questions for the hangout were submitted via the Internet and through other platforms.

The Hangout was watched live on YouTube by close to 82,000 people from 116 countries. Millions watched across other media platforms. Previously, other leaders like US President Barack Obama, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and South African President Jacob Zuma have hosted similar Hangouts on Google+.

In the past, various governmental organizations and political parties in India, including the Ministry of External Affairs (Indian Diplomacy, MEA YouTube channel, Google+ page) , Rajya Sabha TV and the Indian National Congress have used YouTube and Google+ for citizen engagement. In addition to opening up new platforms for people to express themselves, these initiatives redefine the meaning of a democracy, where governments connect directly with its citizens.