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Video-conferencing to cellphones: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis finds new ways to keep in touch

In the first interaction that went on for more than an hour, beneficiaries of a few housing schemes run by the state and Centre were connected through video-conferencing

mumbai Updated: Jan 03, 2019 17:40 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
mumbai,mumbai cm,devendra fadnavis
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis interacts with the beneficiaries on Wednesday.(HT PHOTO)

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday launched Lok Samvad, a new initiative to reach out to beneficiaries of government’s welfare schemes.

In the first interaction that went on for more than an hour, beneficiaries of a few housing schemes run by the state and Centre were connected through video-conferencing. The programme was shown live on Facebook and Twitter. The interaction was aimed at understanding the difficulties, if any, and getting suggestions and complaints. The initiative is in line with the BJP’s move to get in touch with beneficiaries of government schemes and turn them into brand ambassadors.

Earlier, the CM used to conduct a programme, Mee Mukhyamantri Boltoy (Chief Minister Speaking). Touted as the CM’s version of Mann Ki Baat, it went off air in October 2017, within six months of the launch. It was also in controversy for appointing an agency with no experience, and for alleged payment of ₹2.36 crore to it, a claim that was refuted by DGIPR.

“Lok Samwad is a new version of Mee Mukhyamantri Boltoy. Apart from beneficiaries connected through video-conferencing at district headquarters, we got in touch with four beneficiaries through mobile internet facility from their houses that were built under various government-run schemes. The exercise helps the chief minister get information first hand,” said Ajay Ambekar, director, Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR). “The CM resolved a difficulty related to availability of sand after two beneficiaries of Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY) — Aarti Kottewar (Wardha) and Javed Shaikh (Gadchiroli) – brought the problem to his notice in today’s interaction. Fadnavis immediately announced a provision of five brass of sand, without charging any royalty, to the beneficiaries of PMAY for house construction,” said a senior official from chief minister office (CMO).

Lok Samvad will be organised twice a month. Mee Mukhyamantri Boltoy was telecast only once a month as an advertisement on a few Marathi news channels, which used to cost the state exchequer. Lok Samwad will be telecast only on Doordarshan, a government-run channel.

“In MMB, we used to seek questions from public and a select few used to get a chance to interact with the chief minister at the studio in Mantralaya. In Lok Samwad, the CM will interact with beneficiaries from various districts, which is more effective than MMB,” said the official.

First Published: Jan 02, 2019 23:40 IST