Indian government takes to Facebook for citizen inputs on expenditure planning

The Planning Cmmission for India's 12th 5-year expenditure plan has started an online forum and Facebook page for citizens to voice their opinions and contribute to the draft.

India’s recognition as a democratic nation is getting an upgrade. The government has now started a Facebook page for citizens to weigh in on the next budget. The Twelfth Plan (they do these every 5 years) is being drafted by the Planning Commission for expenditures in 2012 to 2017. According to the process of introducing the plan, an Approach Paper outlining the targets and challenges as to be introduced. It is this Approach Paper that the government wants citizens to participate in and share views on.

The Facebook page is titled The Twelfth Plan and was unveiled by deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia. A new online forum has also being launched for people to discuss topics under several categories. The forum script being used is phpBB 3, which I must say is a good choice.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia talking about the initiatives said, “The intention is not that we are going to necessarily respond to every suggestion. But very often I hear people say that you fellows in the Planning Commission just set up steering groups with your own buddies and people you’ve known, and you’re all over sixty years old and you have people of the same age and most of them don’t have a clue what’s really going on.”

So far the Facebook page has only 166 likes which I hope will drastically increase as word spreads on social networks. As per details on the Facebook page, a draft of the inputs received through the forum and Facebook will be made available online in the first week of March.

PS: I checked twitter and so far @12thplan and @twelfthplan are both available.