Before Narendra Modi was elected India’s prime minister five months ago, Shishir Bajpai barely used his Twitter account. Now, he can’t do without it, as Modi attempts to reboot Asia’s third-largest economy.

“Every decision gets posted on Twitter,” the Mumbai-based director at IIFL Wealth Management Ltd., which has $10 billion under management and advisory, said in an interview. “There’s a lot of transparency now.”

While monitoring social media is nothing new for investors, it has become all but indispensable for followers of India’s $1.5 trillion stock market after Modi transformed the way official policy is announced by the oil and finance ministries. The government now uses the network more than any other globally, according to Twitter Inc. (TWTR)’s own data.

Bajpai is among a growing number of money managers using the microblog to understand how Modi is steering the economy. The 64-year-old politician and his ministers are sending dozens of tweets a day, including an Aug. 13 announcement of gasoline-price cuts that preceded the press release by 90 minutes and led to a 1.8 percent drop in Indian Oil Corp. shares.

ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co., India’s second-biggest money manager, is using social media to get a “handle” on the government’s policies, said S. Naren, the firm’s chief investment officer. Birla Sun Life Asset Management Co., India’s fourth-biggest money manager, plans to start looking at Twitter more closely, co-chief investment officer Mahesh Patil said in an Aug. 26 interview.

Indian Record

Modi, who hasn’t given a single interview to local reporters since taking power in May, has more than 7 million followers on Twitter. His post declaring victory on election day in May was retweeted 70,575 times, a record for India, Raheel Khursheed, the head of news, politics and government at Twitter India, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Modi’s reliance on social media to communicate is prompting complaints by India’s press corps. The Editors Guild of India, an association of local journalists, asked the government to “enlarge access and engage more actively” with reporters, the body said in a statement last month. The country had more than 12,000 newspapers as of March 2013, according to the Registrar of Newspapers for India.

The government is using all available media platforms, A.P. Frank Noronha, director general of the Press Information Bureau, said by phone from New Delhi on Oct. 14.

‘Regular User’

“I am a regular user of Twitter and Facebook,” Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in an interview in New Delhi on Oct. 14. “It gives people a sense of where I am going and what I am doing. It’s a very effective tool to connect with people.”

Modi, who hasn’t given a single interview to local reporters since taking power in May, has more than 7 million followers on Twitter. His post declaring victory on election day in May was retweeted 70,575 times, a record for India, Raheel Khursheed, the head of news, politics and government at Twitter India, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Modi is also using Twitter to woo foreign leaders as he seeks overseas investment to boost economic growth and lift the lowest living standards among emerging markets.

Before visiting Japan in August, the prime minister tweeted in Japanese about the friendship between the two countries. His Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, who includes Modi and Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh among the four people he follows, replied in English.

Japan pledged about 4 trillion yen ($37.3 billion) in economic investment in infrastructure during Modi’s trip.


 

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Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-15/india-s-smart-money-embraces-social-media-as-tweets-move-markets.html