Online status: D.K. Saxena (IFS), director (primary education)
Fact: Saxena was relieved from the HRD months ago
Online status: Vijay Kumar Singh, secretary, civil aviation
Fact: He retired in May 2012
Ranchi, Aug. 10: Appreciate the irony. The e-face of the state is firewalled against information update. So Mr Chief Minister may be bullish on e-governance and information at a click, but fact is that Jharkhand’s official website jharkhand.nic.in very often offers obsolete information up to four years old.
Arjun Munda’s statements on the need to have robust information technology tools to maintain transparency and better governance are reduced to hollow rhetoric.
Forget navigation issues, design or usability flaws, even data on current bosses, projects and their status, annual plans and publication activities aren’t updated regularly.
Unlike other problems that demand complicated or time-consuming ways of combat, here the solution is simple.
In theory, the IT department would like each state department to daily update its activities on its relevant section on the state website. In practice, the “daily update” stretches to monthly and yearly as departments can’t be bothered.
“The biggest problem is the attitude of various departments. Almost all senior and junior officials today flaunt the latest tablets and iPhones as status symbols, but when it comes to updating webpages they start panting,” said a senior official of the state IT department.
So, it is no surprise that the government website’s publication section is at least four years old. One can find few reports and activities undertaken by health and industries departments in 2007-08.
The circular section, supposed to communicate important decisions, guidelines, notifications, among others, is virtually defunct. A blank page stares at the user.
The citizen’s corner, with links on government services and schemes like road information system, e-mining, e-Kalyan, among others, is an embarrassment. Most links don’t work.
Related links of districts and government departments aren’t interconnected, making the site user-unfriendly.
In this disorganised and obsolete digital chaos, when one stumbles upon the department of planning and development pages of all plan outlays for government wings since 2009-2010 till date, one is pleasantly surprised. But the exception only proves the rule — the website needs regular updates.
IT secretary N.N. Sinha couldn’t be reached as he is outside the state. But deputy director and e-governance nodal officer S.V. Sahu said they had shot off letters to various departments asking them to update their respective websites daily.
“Our secretary (Sinha) wrote to all the stakeholders of government wings concerned, directing them to update all the development documents, decisions, and day-to-day progress on the website,” said Sahu. “Every department has a trained official to handle webpages but I don’t know why they don’t update regularly. Even for simple tender updates, they route the work to us.”