The Indian government wants a handle on students' social media profiles —and that has sparked an outrage

  • The Indian government has directed all the higher educational institutions to link social media handles of students with the institute and Ministry of Human Resource & Development (MHRD).
  • The move is aimed to “connect the students” and share positive achievements by the students and institutions.
  • This will include nearly 30 million college students and 900 universities across the country.
  • Each institute has been asked to appoint a “Social Media Champion(SMC),” to publicise the accomplishments and communicate with the ministry.
In a move to “connect the students,” the Indian government has directed all the higher educational institutions to link the social media accounts of students with their respective institute and Ministry of Human Resource & Development (MHRD).

The HRD Ministry, in its official release, stated that the students’ social media accounts including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram handles will be linked to those of the ministry and the respective institutes, to share positive achievements and “good work done by the institution.”

The move to track social handles, which is expected to target nearly 30 million college students and 900 universities, has fueled debates among the institutions due to student privacy concerns.

“This is ridiculous, and it is a clear attempt by the government at implementing surveillance on even the personal spaces of students,” Ayesha Kidwai, Professor at JNU told The Quint on the merger of personal information with government bodies.

The academic institutions have shown displeasure, given that the information accessed through the social portals may be misused in certain ways.

“If your intention is to facilitate communication, all stakeholders of institutions should have been made a part of it. Why should only students’ accounts be linked?” N. Raghuram, faculty member at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University told The Telegraph.

In addition to this, the higher institutions have been asked to appoint a “social media champion(SMC)” from their institute, who will be a medium of communication with the HRD Ministry and other institutions.

Having said that, the then appointed SMC will have access to the institute’s social media profiles, which may also impact the institute. The SMC is expected to publicise “one positive story” by their institution and retweet “success stories” of the students, according to the official letter.

The deadline to submit the details of the SMC candidate is 31 July, as per R. Subrahmanyam, Secretary of the Department of Higher Education.

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