Government websites are the first point of contact for many common citizens to find information about various initiatives and schemes. Government of India came up with standard guidelines for all government websites in 2009 and as on date, only 3.3% websites fully comply with those guidelines.
Government websites are often the first resort to find information about various government initiatives. Hence there has been a lot of emphasis to ensure that all the Government of India websites comply with certain uniform guidelines. Such guidelines for government websites were first issued in 2009. These guidelines prepared by the National Informatics Center (NIC) were made an integral part of the ‘Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure’ and were called the ‘Guidelines of Indian Government Websites (GIGW)’. Seven years since these guidelines were adopted, a mere 31 of the 957 websites audited were found to be fully complaint according to a latest audit by the Standardization Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) Directorate.
Guidelines prescribe a matrix of 115 compliance items
The GIGW issued in 2009 specify 115 metrics to bring in standardization and uniformity in government websites. These 115 metrics are categorized into the following nine major heads
- Government of India Identifiers
- Building Confidence
- Scope of Content
- Quality of Content
- Website Hosting
- Website Promotion
- Website Management
The guidelines have also been categorized into Mandatory, Advisory & Voluntary based on the requirement and importance of each of these metrics.
What do the guidelines say?
The guidelines talk about various things including the following
- Displaying the national emblem
- Using a government domain like ‘gov.in’ or ‘nic.in’
- Having a Copyright statement
- Hyper linking content
- Up to date public information
- Information about programs/schemes/services
- Availability of relevant acts/rules/documents/reports
- Availability of circulars/notifications/tenders/recruitment
- Availability of FAQs
- Content Authenticity & Accuracy
- Multilingual Versions
- Consistent design & layout
- Consistent navigation
- Security Standards
- Website Hosting
- Website Promotion & SEO
- Website management team
Only 3.3% of the websites fully comply with the guidelines
As per the latest monthly report of the government, only 31 of the 957 audited government websites fully comply with the guidelines adopted in 2009. The government has now asked each department to send a monthly report about the compliance with respect to these 115 metrics.
Weird Colours of the Labour Bureau website
The Labour Bureau’s website is one of the prime examples of what is wrong with some of the government websites. From weird colours to weird fonts, this website is an example of what all could be wrong. The website is cluttered; content is not well organized and uses archaic designs.
Domains other than ‘gov.in’ or ‘nic.in’
There are government websites which do not use the mandatory government domains of ‘gov.in’ or ‘nic.in’. For instance, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana website has a ‘.com’ domain. Same is the case with the ‘Make in India’ website.