The Indian Prime Minister has joined forces with Twitter to launch a brand new service that will allow government officials to send tweets via SMS in a move to boost e-governance in the world’s largest democracy.
Narendra Modi is a veteran in the social media sphere, amassing 10.9 million followers on Twitter since 2009, making him the second most followed politician behind US President Barack Obama.
The new service called Twitter Samvad, meaning ‘dialogue’ in Hindi, was unveiled by CEO Dick Costolo and Modi in New Delhi as part of the government’s ‘Digital India’ programme to transform the nation into a digitally empowered society.
By enabling tweets to be sent out as an SMS, any Indian with a mobile device, with or without a data plan, is able to receive messages from political leaders and government bodies. Mobile users can activate the service through a missed call to an assigned phone number.
“People who sign up will receive a set of curated Tweets based on the highest engagement throughout the day to stay up-to-date with real-time information about government-related news, policies and activities,” the micro-blogging site Twitter said.
“And you can use Twitter Samvad during emergency situations to receive live updates from government bodies, such as time-sensitive information and details about rescue efforts,” it said.
So far, a total of 16 political leaders and ministries are linked up to Twitter Samvad. Modi was the first leader to kick off the service that is currently exclusive to India.