Indian Tax Payers Can Now Dictate About Budget Through Facebook

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At the time when Indian Government is facing tough time towards misuse of tax payers’ hard earned money by their own leaders like Raja and Kalmadi, planning commission of India has decided to leverage on the enormous reach of social media to ask the suggestions from Indian people on how they think taxpayer money should be spent. Interesting !!. The so-called India Planning Commission has launched a Facebook page dubbed as “Twelfth Plan”, which refers to spending from 2012 through 2017.

The creator of the page and a corresponding website, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said the government panel chose Facebook for gathering input in order to hear from “small villages” and individuals rather than just business groups.

The input is also sought because there’s a lot of money on the table. For instance  India’s government has $1 trillion set aside just for fixing potholes and eliminating power shortages, according to Reuters. The news agency quoted Ahluwalia telling reporters:

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The intention is not that we are going to necessarily respond to every suggestion. But very often I hear people say that you fellows in the Planning Commission just set up steering groups with your own buddies and people you’ve known, and you’re all over sixty years old and you have people of the same age and most of them don’t have a clue what’s really going on… We must have some mechanism of connecting… If you want to criticize this as gimmicky, please do so.

While seeking input on Facebook seems like such a simple thing, it’s actually revolutionary when it’s a national government asking all of its people how to spend an infrastructure budget over a five year period. And it’s neat to see such a modern approach in a place like India; we are curious about how the endeavor will fare and whether it might become and example for other countries.

However, being as proud Indian and close to ground reality, I am literally failing to understand whether Planning commission has anything to do with “small village suggestion THROUGH FACEBOOK.” How can people from “small villages”, who are still struggling for quality education and a decent life style, gain access to computer with Internet with the sense of “Facebook Page” ?

Certainly, Facebook and other social media websites are one of the prime platform for such innovative conversation but much before an ideal scenario need to be develop and authority should thing about their target audience on ground reality.

I think, Indian Planning Commission itself need some expert social media planners before they trigger such initiatives. I would like to know what do you think about Planning commission effort to get public input via Facebook on how to spend the government’s money?

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