No WhatsApp For Babus: Puducherry CM, Kiran Bedi Just Nixed Ban

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Puducherry: Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, has said that social media can and should be used by government officers to publicise and implement important schemes in Puducherry.

To enable this, she has cancelled a ban declared earlier this week by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on heads and members of government departments using Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook for official purposes.

Explaining her decision on Twitter, she posted, “If Puducherry has to be a progressive UT, it cannot be retrograde in communications.” In a column written for ndtv.com last year, the Lieutenant Governor had said that the WhatsApp group she created was essential: “I dramatically improved our information sharing. Meeting notices, minutes of meetings, news clips, photographs, even shared short videos, travels and tour notes, and more. Now there was even a space created for shared achievements missing so far. Most of all ideating.”

Ms Bedi, who serves as the centre’s representative, took charge of Puducherry in May last year. Her decision to over-rule the Chief Minster is likely to raise questions about whether she has encroached upon the government’s turf – a complaint common for the Aam Admi Party government in Delhi.

She posts often on Twitter and has created a WhatsApp group for exchange of information and details of implementation of various government schemes. An official in Raj Nivas or the governor’s office is the administrator for the group. Late last month, Ms Bedi suspended a senior officer for allegedly posting an obscene video on the WhatsApp group.

Mr Narayanasamy heads a Congress government. His notice, sent on Monday, said that social media should not be used because the servers of Facebook and others are located abroad.

“Any foreign country can get access to these official communications and documents uploaded which is a violation of Official Secrets Act (OSA) and also against the guidelines issued by the Union Information and Technology Ministry,” it said. The notice also said that no group should be formed on WhatsApp or other social media for official communication.

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