For those who are following what’s happening in India for the last 15+ months in terms of Government using Social Technology tools to simply collapse bureaucracy and escalation layers to connect to common people is amazing.
Its not just the Prime Minister who keeps tweeting about his meetings, discussions and selfies with global leaders, but also it is spreading to others as well. His use of technology to reach out people, seek their opinion about the Govt policies, addressing issues and complaints – particularly in the areas of pension payments for widows have brought a fresh air to the governance in India where apathy is plenty everywhere.
One particular incident a couple of months back comes to my mind. A women traveler in a train was being harassed by a rude co-passenger and she tweeted about it tagging the Railway Minister tweeter account. Within seconds apparently she got a reply asking for train/seat details and the next station. In the next 15 minutes when the train reached the station, Police came into the compartment, sorted out the issues and moved the male passenger to a different section. Things like this are unheard of and its amazing how technology, and more so the political leaders are adopting it to provide basic services and security to the students.
Examples of Indians stuck in foreign land with stolen passports and in countries during troubled times, reaching out to the External Minister and she providing specific instructions and complete solution to their problems are many. I think no other country is providing such speedy resolutions to their citizens in foreign land so much alacrity.
This is not just the ruling party of BJP. Yesterday I was reading about how the young Deputy CM of Bihar is responding to the common citizen’s requests. Apparently a girl tagged him on a complaint that her scholarship money was not being released by the relevant State Govt agency for many days and how she was tired of following up. After she posted that, she got her scholarship amount released in just two days. Not just that, it was reported that the Deputy CM reviewed all the pending Scholarship payments across the State and specifically instructed his officers to clear everything in the next 2 weeks or so.
Apart form this, Prime Minister, CMs, Ministers having real time Video Conferences with multiple stakeholders to review a specific situation and taking collaborative decision is common in Indian administration.
All the credit should go to Chandrababu Naidu for this technology revolution in Government sector in India. It was almost 15-16 years back he took the initiate for e-Governance across Andra Pradesh and brought in gadgets, video conference, Internet and hi-tech bus.
In spite of all the problems, Indian is at cutting edge technology when it comes to Consumers and Services. As a Country we have always been a mix of opposites co-existing. I still remember the a couple of photos we used in all our PPTs while I was at Infosys – (i) a villager on a bullock cart opposite Indian National Parliament and talking on the cell phone, and (ii) Security forces carrying electronic voting machines on Elephants to remote villages that did not have basic road and electricity services.
Having your Prime Minister, Railway Minister, HRD Minister, Foreign Minister, Deputy CM accessible almost real time on the other side of Twitter or Facebook – is an awesome Citizen Empowerment, Engagement and Service. The impact to society is real and fast. As I mentioned, for a Country like India its many fold – it creates a positive emotion and purpose in people’s minds, gives them confidence that some local gunda or a government clerk cannot hold him/her for ransome – which has been the story for decades.
Now the question is what are the lessons Enterprises can get out of this? Are they even listening? Collaboration is not just posting pictures of picnics or pet animals. If the Collaboration is not Context sensitive, like it is in Government, then it is of no use. Can the Leadership team engage with Employees using technology the way the Indian Government is doing? And in doing so build a completely Engaged eco-system of Happy Employees?