The Public Diplomacy division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been given the Gov2.in Award for being the first central ministry to propagate and use social media extensively as a communication tool to connect with the ordinary citizen.
The event was held Friday evening at a function at Hotel Le Meridien here. The award was received by Abhay Kumar, under secretary, Public Diplomacy, on behalf of the division.
Gov2.0 forum was launched by Governance Now magazine on this occasion and was inaugurated by IT and Communications Minister Kapil Sibal. Speaking on the occasion Sibal said: "Social media platforms are transformational and should be used to facilitate governance though some time is needed for teledensity to improve in rural areas, but eventually the mobile revolution will power Gov 2.0 there.'
Initiated by Governance Now magazine, the Gov2.in Awards aim to recognize the pioneers in government organizations for the use of social media tools for creating interactive platforms for improving citizen service delivery. It is also awarded for promoting use of social media by the government. Governance Now magazine highlights issues related to governance and public policy.
Speaking at a panel discussion earlier, Joint Secretary (Public Diplomacy) Navdeep Suri said: "The Public Diplomacy division is using social media to communicate more effectively with diverse constituencies, to receive feedback in a way that makes the Ministry of External Affairs more responsive to citizen concerns and to build global communities of friends of India.
"Effective use of Twitter during the evacuation of our nationals from Libya by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and by PD division has received an extremely positive response."
Public diplomacy division seeks to engage citizens and global audiences more effectively on issues related to foreign policy and advance India's conversations with the world, he stated. Since July 2010, the division has launched a series of digital diplomacy initiatives that have made it one of the first Indian government organisations to tap into the potential offered by social media and Web 2.0 tools.
These include (a) A Twitter page (www.twitter.com/indiandiplomacy) that has already acquired close to 7000 followers and provides regular information and updates on foreign policy issues
(b) A YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indiandiplomacy) that hosts more than 50 documentary films on various subject and has recieved over 19000 hits
(c) Separate Facebook communities for IndianDiplomacy(www.facebook.com/indiandiplomacy) that flags upcoming events and shares information on a range of foreign policy related issues, Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) (www.facebook.com/ITECNetwork) & India Perspectives magazine (www.facebook.com/IndiaPerspectives)
(d) A blogspot account (www.indiandiplomacy.blogspot.com) that provides a platform for discussing issues raised in the popular MEA Distinguished Lecture Series on India's foreign policy
(e) Accounts on online publishing sites like Issuu and Scribd to make the ministry's flagship India Perspectives magazine accessible to the online community;
(f) A new website (www.indiandiplomacy.in) that, inter alia, seeks to build a positive narrative about India in terms of its development partnerships with various countries, about the reach and impact of India's soft power and about activities of India's diplomatic missions.
Other recipients of the award were Municipal Corporation of Delhi(MCD), Delhi Traffic Police(DTP), India Post, Census India 2011 and Planning Commission 12th Plan.