In order to get its messages across and to give a professional touch to its public interface, the current government is spending almost Rs 2 crore a year in social media messaging.
This was revealed in a reply to an RTI application filed ET. The government hired and took professional help to handle the accounts, the information showed. Almost all Twitter and Facebook accounts across ministries, barring external affairs, information & broadcasting and tourism, were opened between June and December 2014, soon after the Modi government came to power in May 2014.
Ministries that have taken professional help include home, information & broadcasting, food processing, tourism, housing & urban affairs, Niti Aayog, drinking water & sanitation, AYUSH, women & child development and environment, forests & climate change.
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affair roped in a company named Quantum for a contract worth Rs 7 crore for three years. The I&B ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with BECIL, a public sector unit under the ministry, for Rs 2.92 crore. BECIL has been involved in similar work with I&B since 2013.
The tourism ministry employed Stark Communications for a contract worth Rs 1.04 crore. Niti Aayog has given the contract to YAAP Digital for Rs 96 lakh for one year. The environment ministry has hired two consultants on a monthly salary of Rs 20,000 each. The ministry of drinking water & sanitation does not have a Twitter handle but its flagship initiative Swachh Bharat Rural has one.
Government various development partners provide services on a pro bono basis, reply added. However, the Home Ministry refused to reveal the amount citing info sought are related to the security interests of the country.
Earlier in March, the Prime Minister’s Office to an RTI application filed by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia said that no social media campaign has been run on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Google accounts maintained by the PMO and thus had not incurred any cost on maintenance.
At present, the PM Modi has over 4.22 crore followers on Facebook and 3.32 crore on Twitter.