India’s Planning Commission has put a 21st century spin on the way it advises the government on how best to spend its money — by going on Facebook and asking India’s 1.2 billion people to have their say.
The government panel, which dates back to the times of India’s planned economy and was famously panned as an “armchair adviser” by a sitting minister, has invited Indians to post suggestions on a dedicated page on the social networking site.
The page is named after the “Twelfth Plan” of expenditure which spans the five years to 2017, which the influential panel is in the process of formulating.
The government plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure alone in the next plan to revamp the country’s potholed roads and plug huge peak-time power shortages.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who unveiled the Facebook page and a separate website on Wednesday, said the move would widen the spectrum of views to villages and local bodies and not just vested interests such as business groups.