Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a lot of interest to give a push to Digital India. The onus is always on the individual ministries & departments to embrace Digital India, they are supposed to have websites which are constantly updated and content must be in multiple Indian languages. So what is the current state of Indian govt websites today?
There are many ways to identify the popular govt websites – personal favorites & third party rating services. The top list of sites has been selected from SimilarWeb (May 2017) and Comscore (April 2017). Not surprised to see very few sites overlap in the two lists. I was looking for the following features,
- Is the site being updated?
- Does it support any Indian languages?
- Is the site mobile web friendly?
- Do they have an “active” presence on Twitter and Facebook?
The traffic of few sites are understandably seasonal. For e.g. thrice a year Indians file their taxes (a rare breed of people I must say), during the tax season traffic to Income Tax site is up. Currently, Aadhaar site is attracting a lot of traffic.The site names in lower case are from SimilarWeb and the ones in upper case are from Comscore.
|Sl No||Domain||Mobile Web Version||Language Version|
Standardize Naming Convention Of Domain Names
The government, however, needs to standardize the naming convention of the domain names of govt sites,
- It is good to see many sites have moved from .nic.in to .gov.in
- Avoid .com / .org domain names, it reduces the trust factor. When I see a .gov.in domain name I am sure it is an official government website.
- Avoid “india” in domain names – EPFindia.com (which has the same contents of epfindia.gov.in), pmindia.gov.in (pm.gov.in), passportofindia.gov.in (passport.gov.in), gujaratindia.com (gujarat.gov.in)
- While things are better now, earlier Karnataka state govt was allowed to have karunadu.gov.in as their domain name.
Indian Language Versions of Govt Websites
Even if Indian languages are supported mostly you will find only a Hindi version. Having just Hindi support may still be acceptable for North Indian states but not for Central govt websites. Few South Indian websites have support for the state language only, at least it is a good start.
Possibly sites like MakeInIndia.com should have the European language versions too.
A lot more must be done to add language support – merely having the navigation labels in Indian languages doesn’t help. The content too must be in Indian languages.
Central Govt and State Governments must provide all major services online – property tax payment, utility bill payment, traffic police fine payment, booking cooking gas etc. Yes, many cities have these facilities but we need every city, town to have these facilities. And this strengthen’s PM Narendra Modi’s cashless economy vision.
The government needs to do something about the hosting of their websites, especially of the official State Government website, they are terribly slow.
A majority of internet users in India now access the net from their mobile. It now becomes very important for the govt to ensure their websites are Indian language and mobile web friendly. Only after that majority of the users will benefit from Digital India.