Home ministry fast-tracks Pak national medical visa after Twitter plea

  • Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 29, 2015 01:36 IST
This marks the first time that Rajnath Singh has engages in what is increasingly being called ‘Twitter Governance’. (PTI Photo)

Two heavyweight Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj set another example of what is being termed as ‘Twitter governance’ by responding to a tweet from an Indian national who requested a medical visa for his cousin, a Pakistani national.

“My cousin Bharat Maheswari is a Pakistani national and he was getting treated for liver problem in Dubai. He had to come to Delhi for treatment. I first tweeted by tagging foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s Twitter account, who responded by sending her private secretary’s number. But since the medical visa comes under the domain of the home ministry, I also tweeted tagging the home minister’s official Twitter account,” said Santosh Maheswari, who is a computer engineering in Gujarat’s Patan.

Santosh says he tweeted on December 25, which was a holiday on account of Christmas and was followed by a long weekend.

“We required an early visa clearance and home minister Rajnath Singh immediately responded by tweeting his private secretary’s email ID to send all details. Today (Monday) afternoon, we got a message that the visa has been cleared and now my cousin will land in Delhi in a day or two,” said Santosh.

An aide to Singh said it is the first such example of visa request being fast-tracked after a Twitter plea.

“If it opens floodgates for more such requests in future, we are prepared to deal it in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for e-governance. In fact when Bharat Maheswari’s visa was cleared, we deliberately didn’t inform Santosh on phone. We conveyed the message on Twitter to keep the whole process online,” said a home ministry official who dealt with the matter.

Interestingly, Bharat, who works in Dubai, hails from Mirpurkhas city of Sindh province. Santosh’s family was also living in Pakistan but in 1989 they came to India and became Indian citizens.

“I have a request. Please keep politics out of it. I don’t want any trouble for my cousin and I am thankful for Rajnathji and Sushmaji for responding to my tweets,” added Santosh.

Many Union ministers are responding to distress tweets on matters pertaining to their ministries.

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