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Ministry of Health and Family Welfare onboards Twitter Seva

By Payal Kamat

The power of a uniquely open service during a public health emergency is clear. As the nation combats the COVID-19 pandemic, our work has never been more critical and our service has never been in higher demand. People from all parts of the country are taking to Twitter to be equipped with quality information from authoritative sources. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has a vital role in ensuring that people have timely access to the latest official information and we’re playing our part to support their critical mission.

To serve this purpose, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India recently onboarded Twitter Seva to help Indians with a speedy resolution to their health-related queries. Aimed at enabling transparent e-governance delivery in real-time, Twitter Seva will allow the Ministry to communicate effectively and at scale with the public, especially in crisis situations like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, said, “Over time, Twitter has proved to be an essential service for both the government and citizens to interact and exchange information, especially in times of need. As #IndiaFightsCorona with social distancing, we are happy to make a concerted online effort by adopting the Twitter Seva solution. It is powered by a team of experts who are trained and equipped to treat and respond to each query uniquely, and at scale. This will enable us to establish a direct channel with Indian citizens, connecting with them in real-time to provide authoritative  health and public information.”

This dedicated account will be accessible to people - be it local or national in their scope. Whether it is for latest updates on measures taken by the government, learning about access to healthcare services or seeking guidance for someone who perhaps has symptoms but is unsure about where to turn to for help, the service will empower the public to reach out to the authorities. People in India can get their queries answered by Tweeting to @CovidIndiaSeva.

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Twitter Seva is a customised live query redressal solution. It works on a dashboard that helps process large volumes of Tweets, converts them into resolvable tickets, and assigns them to the relevant authority for real-time resolution. These conversations are transparent and everyone on the service can benefit from the responses received from the authorities around common queries. It is important to note that it is only for broader queries and does not require the public to share personal contact details or health record details.

Tweet Guide

  • Follow @CovidIndiaSeva for the latest credible information related to COVID-19
  • You can also Tweet to @CovidIndiaSeva for a response to a particular COVID-19 related query, and authorities will reply to your Tweet with appropriate information
  • The account is to provide responses to your Coronavirus-related queries. However, Tweeting with your query does not require you to reveal any private or sensitive information such as contact details, identity documents, personal health records, etc
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Over the years, as more and more people from India get on Twitter, an increasing amount of content across languages is being created. We have witnessed a considerable rise in conversations in Indic languages. In fact, after English, Hindi is the second most used language on Twitter in India and non-English Tweets account for 50% of all Tweets on the service here. Twitter’s compatibility and usage across Indian languages will enable the Ministry to communicate with people from all parts of India. 

We have open lines of communication with the relevant authorities in the central and state governments and public health officials, to ensure they can troubleshoot account issues, and seek strategic counsel as they use the power of Twitter to mitigate harm and connect with the public at large. We are also actively working with various state governments to support departments on COVID-19 response management. Twitter has also supported and enabled the governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh to  set-up dedicated pandemic-response accounts on Twitter. Follow them here:DIPR Karnataka Maharashtra  Control room, Jharkhand COVID Helpline, UP Covid helpline, Andhra Pradesh.

At present, the Twitter Seva ecosystem supports eight government partners in India with the live delivery of services. As an India-first innovation, Twitter Seva is currently being used for citizen engagement by the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Department of Telecommunications,, Department of Posts, MTNL, BSNL  under the Ministry of Communication, the UP Police, as well as the Bengaluru Police. Internationally, Twitter Seva is also in use at the Central Java province in Indonesia.

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@PayalKamat

Payal Kamat

‎@PayalKamat‎

Sr. Associate, Public Policy and Government, Twitter India

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