Today’s Mumbai edition of Times of India (Sept 6, 2009) carried an article by @Mahafreed titled “We are under construction” – very appropriately reflecting the state of Govt websites in India. The article mentions my views about this topic.
We at oneindia.in continuously try to categorize govt websites in our web directory, it is a huge challenge. Things to note are,
- Govt should insist on using only gov.in domain for all govt websites. That alone brings in a trust factor for all citizens. It is time to nip NIC.in
- Stop mentioning the word ‘india’ in domainnames (e.g. incometaxindia.gov.in, pmindia.nic.in)
- Prime Minister’s site must be primeminister.gov.in or pm.gov.in (or map them). It shouldn’t be the present http://pmindia.nic.in/
- Every site must be at least bi-lingual if not multi-lingual. http://pmindia.nic.in/ has the Hindi version in PDF. Unicode fonts have come a long way, use it
- Give importance to the current event on the homepage. For e.g. on Income Tax site for the month of July and August promote the links related to personal tax filing links, in Sept promote corporate tax filing links. Get rid of the background, it is taxing to read!
- Railways has so many websites. The online ticketing portal has been a huge success but they need to spend on the user experience. I have heard from users that they prefer to do the research of the availability of tickets on Cleartrip but go back to the official site to do the bookings. Also it is next to impossible for me to remember that domainname – IRCTC.co.in (not a gov.in or nic.in – bad)
- The education department doesn’t talk anything about the board exams being optional. Basically every department site must have a News/Updates section prominently shown.
I am sure there are many in India, me being one of them, who would be willing to help the govt improve their sites. And I would love to “volunteer” in the planning but I strongly believe these portal jobs finally are done internally or by the big IT companies. The govt should recognize the existence of specialized portal development companies. Else Govt sites will always remain as ‘sarkari’ websites.