Centre asks ministries to improve quality of govt websites


"It is often observed that many government websites have deficiencies in usability, design, accessibility, quality and currency of content compounded by use of obsolete technology," Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar wrote in a recent letter to secretaries.

Concerns have been raised by many segments of society right from individual citizens to civil society and media about the quality of government websites, he said.

In today's world, increased proliferation of internet and widespread usage of the latest web technologies have raised the expectations of the people from government websites, he said.

"While there are a few government websites doing very well on the above parameters, many of them are characterised by one or more of the above shortcomings," Chandrasekhar said.

The guidelines developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the Department of Information Technology (DIT) would make government websites "usable, citizen centric and universally accessible" and departments should take vigorous action to revise and enhance their websites, he said.

Websites were today considered the virtual face of the department in cyber space, he said adding it has to fully and accurately reflect the department's activities and initiatives in the real world as well as offer more and more services online.

Noting that availability of up-to-date and high quality content was another major concern, he said it was pertinent to define proper policies and processes to keep the sites up-to-date and responsive to people's need on a sustained basis.

Chandrasekhar also suggested that a senior level officer of the rank of Additional Secretary or Joint Secretary should be nominated as "Web Information Leader" to ensure up-to-date and high quality content on the website as well as provide timely response.

On the technology front, he said he has asked DIT to take necessary measures through NIC to facilitate use of latest web technologies in government websites.

Besides asking the DIT to initiate an independent assessment of the websites of ministries and departments, he has also sought a monthly report on the progress from the ministries.

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