Friday, October 09, 2015

Who are the bureaucrats in Twitter? And why their followers love to read about "safe" sarkari experiences

ON Thursday night, former foreign secretary of India and 1973 batch retired IFS officer Nirupama Rao thanked her 4 lakh Twitter followers. "400K followers today. Humbled and honored. Thank you all", she wrote in a post in the micro-blogging site, Twitter. In fact, if there is one area of Indian bureaucracy that has undergone a sea-change in the last couple of years is the very willingness of more and more serving bureaucrats and diplomats to share their “safe” sarkari experiences in social media platforms. BoI picks out a few bureaucrats from a list of about 500 who are effectively using Twitter to reach out to citizens:
Late arrival to Twitter platform, but secretary of the department of economic affairs (DEA) and 1980 batch IAS Shaktikanta Das has already managed 1,889 followers. Interestingly, as on today, he does not follow anyone. He has become active in social media only recently, but his Tweets on GDP to black money found many a taker.
Then, let’s talk about a young IAS officer of 2013 batch, Roman Saini. A doctor-turned IAS, Saini constantly uses social media, and has 16,400 followers in Twitter. The reason? He answers queries of the UPSC aspirants in the social media platform itself.
Some bureaucrats (e.g. MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup and director general of PIB Frank Noronha) tweet from their official accounts, but among those bureaucrats who use personal accounts, there are possibly three serving officers in India who have accounts with blue verified badge. That means, their Twitter profile is a verified account.
Those with the blue badge include DIPP secretary and 1980 batch IAS Amitabh Kant (25,700 followers), 2005 batch Karnataka cadre IPS officer Abhishek Goyal (11,500 followers) and 2004 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer Vivek Kumar (5,095 followers).
In fact, Twitter verified accounts have nothing to do with the number of followers or the number of total Tweets. And it’s not that you who can apply for Twitter verification on your own. Instead, Twitter contacts you if it finds your account interesting in areas such as music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business etc. And if the account qualifies the basic requirements set by the micro-blogging site.
No wonder, whistleblower IAS of Haryana cadre (1991 batch) Ashok Khemka’s Twitter handle has over 1 lakh followers (the highest among the serving officers), but his account has not come under the verified category as yet.
Another officer who has effectively leveraged Twitter is Karnataka cadre IAS Srivatsa Krishna (21,500 followers).
Among IPS officers, those who are active in Twitter include Rema Rajeshwari, Ankit Singh, Esha Pandey, Madhur Verma, just to name a few. Many of these IPS officers have been effective in highlighting pro-people work that police does.
Actually, many more bureaucrats are there in Facebook, and most of them are highly active in various WhatsApp groups.
A number of retired bureaucrats such as former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra and former union shipping secretary K Mohandas are active in Twitter, but the story of V Ramamurthy, a 1959 batch retired IAS is possibly the most exciting one. In Twitter, he describes himself like this: “Able administrator -IAS 1959. Published author. Tamil Cricket Commentary pioneer. Quiz Master. Cryptic Crossword compiler. Orator. TV Personality”. Mind it, this octogenarian retired from the service (as a chief secretary ranked officer) 21 years ago!
If you know about bureaucrats with major social media presence, kindly write about them in the comment box below. Or else, just tweet. 


  1. P Narahari, current DM of Indore,MP. He is a very active user of social media and has used SM effectively to connect with the citizen in his previous posting as Gwalior collector. And also the collector of Kochi who was in news recently. You can also see the municipal commissioner of Nashik, Praveen Gedam who regularly tweeted about the progress of Nashik Kumbh.I know few more but can not recall their userID.

  2. Sandeep Mittal IPS is one of the few IPS officer who is expert in cyber domain and using twitter for last 2 years.