October 1st, 2015
Image Courtesy: Kozhikode
We live in the age of social media, where everything is a click away, where one page connects thousands. In this scenario, one man decides to use the network for the benefit of his people.
Prasanth Nair, district collector, Kozhikode, sets an example of how, with efficient use of the social network, it is possible to attain the goals of the democratic set up.
Nair runs a Facebook page, where he interacts on a daily basis with one lakh followers. Discussions regarding betterment, plans and policies are conducted, wherein the collector not only effectively propagates his ideas, but also considers feedback and suggestions from residents. This allows free, instant bidirectional conversation. Almost every comment is responded to. People are free to bring to notice problems they are faced with which are pondered over by Nair himself, and also fellow citizens who can upload possible solutions. Such a set up is ideal for smooth functioning, as is seen by the success of various plans he has implemented supported by the social media. The system is effective, raises awareness on a wider spectrum than mere posters which people tend to neglect, and also allows constructive feedback for the same.
One example of his success is Operation Sulaimani, which was started in response to urban hunger. Gathering support of the general population, and many restaurants in his district, Nair launched the project. Sulaimani coupons are distributed by volunteers at government offices and shops to the poor, and also to anyone who is not in a position to pay for their food. These coupons can be exchanged for meals in many restaurants in the district.
Other successful initiatives revolved around raising awareness regarding mental health facilities, and treatment of road potholes.
Prasanth Nair sets an example many of our representatives can follow. It not only spreads awareness, but also acts as a portal for greater participation of the general population in politics, leading to an efficient, clean system.