Our sarkaar is coming to the social web

The government of India has released a draft document on "Social Media Framework & Guidelines for Government Organisations" for public consultation. In case the title was not descriptive enough, it is a roughly 40 pages long document with definitions and guidelines intended for the consumption of government officials. The draft explains (in dreary language) the importance of social media and how government agencies in India and abroad have taken to the use of social web tools to help improve the quality of service as well as to keep the flow of information smooth.

I think the step is a welcome one. The move, if it is implemented, may be somewhat clunky in the beginning, but if done well, it will ready us for the next wave of e-governance initiatives in India. What I also like is the seeming start of a government presence on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. I wrote about this on Rediff in March 2011:
What we need is a solid and extensive government presence on the world wide web -- not as any kind of control, but as a voice of authority. Rumours explode yes, but they are short-lived and without basis, they cannot be sustained for long. And if there is a source on the Internet for reliable information from the horse's mouth, such incidents can be greatly reduced. Thinking that people will gravitate towards rumours even when more reliable information to the contrary is available is just plain disrespect to the public's intelligence.
This was in reaction to the the government's tendency to counter misinformation on the web with blanket bans. It is heartening to note that there is specific mention of this in the draft:
One of the big challenges for government is to avoid propagation of unverified facts and frivolous misleading rumours with respect to government policies. Government must have presence on these platforms to counter such perceptions to present the facts to enable informed opinion making by the populace. (Section 4.3 - point 4)
You can download and view the full draft PDF here at the Department of Information Technology website. Read a TIME article on the draft here.