Prime Minister Narendra Modi told bureaucrats on Friday to avoid using social media for self-promotion, stressing that mobile phones were banned from his meetings because he often found officers checking the internet during discussions.
“I see these days that district-level officers are so busy, busy, that most of their time goes into it (social media). I have stopped the entry (of mobile phones) in my meetings as they (officers) would take them out and start (checking out social media sites),” Modi said in his address at a function in New Delhi to mark the Civil Services Day.
Social media should be used for the welfare of the people and not for self-praise, he told bureaucrats, asserting his government has the “extra” political will to carry out reforms.
“If I am informing the people about dates of polio vaccination through social media, saying that they should come out on a particular date for the vaccination, then it (social media) is helpful. But if during vaccination-related work, I am praising my own photograph on Facebook, then it puts a question mark (on the work done by civil servants),” said Modi.
Modi has more than 29 million Twitter followers with whom he constantly interacts besides using the 140-character interface to highlight government programmes.
Modi said anonymity is one of the greatest strengths of the civil services but the use of social media should not lead to a decline in this strength. Of late, quite a few bureaucrats have courted controversies for their online posts.
He also praised bureaucrats, saying that they have excellence stamped on them.
In a lighter vein, he said that he was not a part of the bureaucracy because he did not get the chance “to attend coaching (to qualify the civil service exam)”.
"It is my good luck that I am in public service for the past 16 years...I did not get the chance to attend coaching,” he said, and then turned to his principal secretary Nripendra Mishra who was also on the dais.
The PM then asked him what rank he would have reached after 16 years in service. “Deputy secretary? Director?" he said, after consulting Mishra. "So, I should have come in the director category."