The Chief Minister going on air to listen to grievances from the common man is a welcome step giving people an opportunity to talk directly to the person whom they have entrusted the job of taking the state to next level of development. Though AIR Shimla has for long been involving the bureaucracy in informing the people regarding various government schemes and policies through which they could benefit, presenting the chief minister to answer live questions would certainly go a long way in infusing confidence among the masses. Now what remains to be seen here is whether the chief minister can take this initiative to the next stage by making effective use of other modern mass media channels.
Though the fact that AIR is a government-owned institution should not raise doubts regarding its credibility as an effective medium of communication, today technology has gifted democracy even better tools to establish itself as the most effective means of social governance. Undoable, our society is being discussed more vigorously over the internet today than on any other platform, and its influence on our day to day life would only increase over time. Similarly, there are other technologies that can empower a common man to a great extent, the only limiting factor would be participation from the other side of the spectrum – the ruling class.
So a simple gesture of listening to grievances on radio can effectively be extended to holding video conferencing sessions for villagers with the chief minister, and so on. Even the mobile phone, the best symbol of the rise of the great Indian middle class, can be an effective tool in realizing the dream of social empowerment. Imagine an SMS from a remote village reaching the power corridors and forcing authorities to take action.
Beyond this there is the virtual world of internet where a section of the society does most of its social interactions. Their world may be virtual, but they are real people and therefore need to be involved in the process of building up our society. The sooner this is realized by those who run governments, the better it would be for promoting a flat or just world.