Friday, April 06, 2018

Bureaucrats in Social Media Age: What they wear, where they eat…

IAS Sonal Swaroop: A dress with a cause (Photo: Twitter)

THE bureaucrats who were faceless in pre-social media era now get attention and even wide publicity not just on what they do, but what they wear, where they eat and when and how they are “wrongfully” charged or media-trialled. Sample this. Deputy Commissioner of West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh was showered praise last month by none other than union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju. “Very encouraging to see young IAS Officer and DC of my home District Dr Sonal Swaroop donning…
the traditional dress to show solidarity with the local community people. The local people are extremely happy with such gesture”, Rijiju said in Twitter. This 32-year-old MBBS-turned IAS officer from Rajasthan belongs to 2012 batch IAS of AGMUT cadre. In this photo, she is seen dressing like a tribal woman of Arunachal Pradesh with a mobile phone on her left hand -- a typical combo of traditions and modernity. 
Then, if IAS officers visit homes of the poor, they find large space in social media. Recently, IAS Officers Association tweeted, “T Anbazhagan IAS, Collector Karur sets up an example we all are proud of. #RoleModel #IASatWork” after linking an article that talked about his visit to an 80-year-old woman, Raakammal from Tamil Nadu's Chinnamanaikkenpatti. A photo of the IAS officer having meal (on a banana leaf ) at the house of the elderly woman by sitting on the floor, was also posted. The collector then ordered a monthly old-age pension of Rs 1,000 for the woman, making her overjoyed. 
There are many such stories being posted in social media every passing day. But at times senior or retired IAS officers defend the juniors in social media. For example, former IAS officer and ex-Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr SY Quraishi strongly defended the CBSE chief and 1988 batch Gujarat cadre IAS Anita Karwal when she was under fire from various quarters after the some question papers of class X and class XII got leaked. “It is extremely sad some people gunning for CBSE Chief, Anita Karwal for unfortunate paper leak. She was the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat and best in India. Exceptionally upright. Leak could have happened from any of 4400 distribution centres and 4400 bank  branches,” Quraishi tweeted leaving other officers to retweet. 
Then, there are bureaucrats across the country who share their personal lives — their spouse’s birthday party, school function of their children and stylish selfies. And when almost every bureaucrat has personal social media handles — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — the anonymity is getting irrelevant, and possibly anachronistic.


  1. There is a fine line between being active and overly active on social media. The concern is that sometimes some officers may be more actively on social media - projecting their work, liking & praising other IAS officers (to earn brownie points) than doing actual work. Often times I think in Modi administration people are more concerned about their visibility on social media - than actually ensuring good delivery of programmes - Best - Suneet K Maheshwari

  2. Another example is of Indian Railways. what has Railways got to do with Sports and commonwealth games? But Railway Officials are busy with writing articles on Facebook about gold medals won by railway sports persons in commonwealth games.

    Even if railway passengers do not get confirmed berths or seats, Railways officers are more concerned about railway employees winning gold medals in the commonwealth games. Then everyone complains that Indian Railways is in financial losses.

    Only God may help Indian Railways and railway passengers.