Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has criticised politicians in his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for not being active on social media, national media reported. Addressing a gathering of the Union Council of Ministers on 2 May, Modi urged them to aim for at least 100,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.
The prime minister lectured his 280 parliamentarians on the need for them to use social media to spread the word about government achievements. He has now appointed power minister Piyush Goyal, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and minister of state Jitendra Singh to help the BJP politicians use Facebook and Twitter.
The prime minister asked the lawmakers: "How actively have you used social sites to spread the government policies? 3.2 crore people have got loans under Mudra bank scheme, 3.18 lakh homes will soon get free LPG, rural electrification is reaching lakhs of homes. Have you all gone to the public about these achievements?" national broadcaster NDTV reported.
The meeting had been called to review the workings of key economic ministries, such as the commerce, finance, telecom and IT departments. Modi urged ministers to create catchy logos for their departments, as well as to prepare e-books that list their achievements to help people understand measures being taken by the government.
Modi has become well-known worldwide for his use of social media, particularly during his election campaign in 2014, when the Financial Times dubbed him "India's first social media prime minister". In March the Indian leader was listed among TIME magazine's 30 most influential people on the internet for the second year in a row, with 18 million Twitter followers and more than 32 million Facebook fans.
TIME magazine wrote about his use of social media: "The leader of the world's largest democracy is also an internet star. Unlike some of his contemporaries, he often uses social media to break news and conduct diplomacy."