For first time, J&K Govt issues SOPs on updation of official websites

Hosting progress on projects, service delivery made mandatory

Heads of deptts to be responsible for contents

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 24: Concerned over the failure of the departments in making available accurate and reliable information in the public domain through their respective websites, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has issued first-ever Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for continuous and concurrent updation of official websites.
In the month of January this year, the General Administration Department (GAD) issued a circular highlighting continuous non-adherence to the repeated instructions issued since 2017 regarding regular updation of departmental websites.
“While navigating websites of several departments, Deputy Commissioners and Heads of the Departments it has been observed that these websites are either having non-functional e-mail IDs or don’t have information of latest Government schemes and activities etc for the public information”, the GAD Commissioner Secretary had mentioned in the circular.
Thereafter, the GAD vide its Order No.148 dated February 13, 2021 constituted a committee comprising of Secretary Information Technology Department, State Informatics Officer, National Informatics Centre and representative of Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency (JaKeGA) for continuously supervising the updation of official websites of various Government departments and districts of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Moreover, the committee was directed to frame Standard Operating Procedures to ensure that all Government websites are updated regularly by departments/districts. After detailed exercise the Information Technology Department has issued SOPs to be adopted by all departments for continuous and concurrent updation of official websites.
The objective behind the formulation of SOPs is to ensure availability of accurate, updated and reliable information in public domain as the departmental website is an official source of information pertaining to the Government and it is very critical that whatever is hosted on the site is authentic and duly verified by the concerned authorities.
As per the SOPs, the responsibility with regard to the contents of the websites will be that of the heads of the administrative departments and they will ensure timely updating of the same. Moreover, it would be their responsibility that website is user-friendly.
“Whenever any new activity takes place in a department, the news/information must get reflected on the website at least simultaneously if not earlier than it appears in the press”, the SOPs said, adding “the website should clearly indicate the subjects assigned to the department by mentioning its mission, vision, objectives, its citizens/client charter and a roadmap of how it intends to achieve all its objectives and envisaged outcomes may also be given”.
In the SOPs, thrust has been laid on prominently displaying the details of functional responsibilities entrusted to various officers within the department, highlighting Acts, Rules, Gazette Notifications, Statutory Orders, important judicial pronouncements, notifications, handbooks, guidelines, instructions and compendium of circulars etc pertaining to the functioning and subjects dealt by the department.
The departments have also been asked to ensure that websites contain information related to annual plans, details of various schemes, programmes, projects, Centrally Sponsored Schemes etc. “The websites should clearly show the services offered to the citizens both online or through various offices and should clearly bring out the target beneficiaries, relevant rules, procedures and eligibility criteria expected from citizens and clients to avail these services. Moreover, all application forms for these services should be made available on the websites”, read the SOPs issued by Secretary to Government, Information Technology Department Simrandeep Singh.
The departments have explicitly been told to ensure that reports of Comptroller and Auditor General of India, annual reports, white papers, plan reviews and statistical reports are placed in the website. As far as feed-back mechanism is concerned, the departments have been asked to ensure that complaints/suggestions/observations received online are responded through an appropriate mechanism.
As far as management and administration of the departmental websites are concerned, the SOPs said that concerned Administrative Secretary will nominate content and web administrators till GAD or IT Department is able to identify suitable resources.
The content administrator will be Administrative Secretary or his nominee and he or she will be responsible for overall supervision to ensure that authentic and updated information is available on the website.