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Should an IAS officer use Social Media?

Should an IAS officer use Social Media?

Relevance

  • GS 2 || Governance & Social Justice || Administration || Personnel Administration

 Why In News?

  • Recently, many inquiries have been initiated by the Of India against some officers for violating service code of conduct (it has certain rules which should be followed).
    • A departmental inquiry has been initiated against a Kashmir cadre IAS officer for posting a tweet about rape culture in South Asia.

 Basic duties

  • An IAS officer is entrusted with the task of handling government affairs, which involve the framing and implementation of policies, in consultation with the concerned ministry.
  • The officer also has to undertake supervision of the implementation process and travel to important sites and places.
  • The officers are answerable to the Parliament or State Legislatures.

 What do All India Services Conduct Rules 1968 say?

  • No member of the Service shall, in any radio broadcast or communication over any public media or in any document published anonymously, pseudonymously or in his own name or in the name of any other person or in any communication to the press or in any public utterance, make any statement of fact or opinion:
    • which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the Central Government or a State Government; or
    • which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the Central Government and any State Government; or
    • which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the Central Government and the Government of any Foreign State

 Arguments against Civil Servants using Social Media

  • Public servants in their capacity as ‘officers of the state’ are bound by service rules. As long as the officer is in service, he is obligated to accept these restrictions.
  • Trust: They are representatives of the government and if they do not repose confidence in actions of the Govt., how an ordinary citizen will.
  • Self promotion at the cost of State
  • Criticism by a civil servant may be motivated by political climate

 Arguments in Favor of Civil Servances using Social Media

  • Right to speech of the civil servant
  • Sync with the times: Social media has become one of the most important and democratic modes of communication.
  • Ethical: sometimes social media may be the only platform to highlight anguish against a government action / inaction which is otherwise unknown to the public.
  • Accesibility: Civil servants are more accessible to the public on social media. So it promotes citizen-centric governance.
  • Brand ambassadors of Digital India

 Mains Question

Should civil servants be restricted from interacting on social media? Analyze.