New Delhi: “Empowerment can be brought about by social media. If we do a cost-benefit analysis, we will see that the cost is very less and benefits are huge," said Union finance minister Arun Jaitley at a townhall held by MyGov to celebrate its second anniversary.

Discussing issues related to the theme, Do, Discuss Disseminate, Jaitley emphasized on “opinion-making exercise", where print, electronic and social media play an active role in formation of public opinion and create awareness.

Jaitley said he believes this to be one of the reasons for the unanimous passage of the goods and services tax bill in Rajya Sabha last week.

The panellists included technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who said: “India is getting engaged, and engagement in the development process is becoming an agenda of priority."

All the apps and other social networking initiatives by the government are steps taken by the government towards a digital democracy, he added.

“People not only choose their government.They want to participate,suggest and give ideas to the policies of the government.They should be given a chance do so, irrespective of their caste and creed," said Rajat Sharma, a journalist on the panel.

Noted journalist Smita Prakash and senior diplomat Akhilesh Mishra were the other members on the panel.