Inspired by the popularity and usefulness of Wikipedia, the Indian government has launched a unique and comprehensive information website, Vikaspedia, for the local population.
Given the wide linguistic and cultural diversity of the country, Vikaspedia offers information in five local languages: Hindi, Assamese, Marathi, Telugu and English. The government will eventually add 22 Indian languages so more people across India can access the website and reap the benefits. The Indian government aims to establish direct contact with people and local communities.
Kipal Sibal, Minister of Communication & Information Technology and Law & Justice, launched the website yesterday.
The idea is to connect different strata of society, empowering people and initiating large scale joint efforts and partnerships to drive social welfare programs. Broadly, Vikaspedia covers key areas including agriculture, health, education, social welfare, energy, services and e-Governance. Because the portal is loaded with huge volumes of information, the interface and user experience are a bit slow.
Prior to this website, the Indian government launched several other websites across different ministries and government organizations, which are mostly in English and the national language, Hindi. Besides the central government-run websites, each state government has its own information sites, as well.
Today, many government services are available online such as passport applications, income and sales tax filing, tenders, and so forth.
The Indian government’s computing arm Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC)‘s Hyderabad unit built the website.
“Vikaspedia is part of democratisation of information. Earlier, for some information, people had to pay, but now most of it will be made available for which they don’t have to pay,” said J Satyanarayana, Secretary of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY).
Like India, most Asian countries are extremely diverse in terms of people, languages, and cultures. Projects like Vikaspedia can help these countries to better connect their people.
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)