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Ahead of Budget, Indian Railways joins Facebook, Twitter

Monday, 7 July 2014 - 4:45pm IST Updated: Monday, 7 July 2014 - 7:20pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: Zee Research Group

Expanding its online reach, the Ministry of Railways has officially joined Facebook as part of the government’s effort to use social media in communicating with citizens. Railways was one of the few ministries missing from the social media circle even though its minister was active on it since the 2014 General Elections. Railway passengers in India are increasingly using smartphones with internet access. In June, when fares were hiked, many commuters commented on the move on Facebook and Twitter. The Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda has more than 12,000 followers on Twitter and over 13,000 on Facebook. He also has a website called www.sadanandagowda.com

"Tomorrow we are going to present the Rail Budget. As soon as the budget is presented, all information will appear on Twitter and Facebook," Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda said here after the launch. He said the initiative will give a new boost to the Ministry in reaching out to the people.

Besides, the national transporter will also have its presence on YouTube. From Tuesday onwards, one can see the all information on the social networking site, he said. Gowda said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's idea that each and every person should be IT-enabled.

Focusing on IT initiatives, Railways will also launch a new number -- 022-4501555 -- tomorrow where people can dial in and hear the Budget. Besides railways enquiry number -- 139 -- will also become toll free soon and all these are slated to be announced in the Rail Budget.

Asked whether the NDA's maiden Rail Budget will be pro-people, Gowda said, "Which ever government whether BJP, Congress or Communist, it has to be a pro-people budget."

Narendra Modi on Facebook/Twitter

The PMO India on Facebook has more than 3.5 million total page ‘likes’ (6.2 per cent up from last week). Modi’s Facebook page has 19.1 million page likes since 2009. On Facebook, he is the second most popular politician in the world with over. The PMO India Twitter handle has more than 1.84 million followers. Modi’s own Twitter handle has 5.14 million followers. He climbed to 3rd place among world leaders’ Twitter ranks. US President Obama and the Pope are ahead of him. Modi had said on his Facebook page that "a platform such as Facebook can be used for governance and better interaction between the people and governments."

NDA on Facebook/Twitter

Following their leader, even ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani and others have followed suit and opened pages on Facebook. They keep updating it daily about what was done in the ministry. They are also active users of Twitter with each of them having more than 4.5 lakh followers. The Ministry of Finance and External Affairs has each more than two lakh ‘likes’. BJP’s 2014 election manifesto had mentioned about social media. The manifesto read, ‘We will leverage technology for e-Governance and engage proactively with the people through social media for participative governance and effective public grievance redressal mechanism’.

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