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1.1 Background

India, the largest democracy in the world, is set to emerge as an ICT Superpower in this millennium. Realising the recognition of ‘electronic governance’ as an important goal by Governments world over, Indian Government has also laid a lot of emphasis on anytime, anywhere delivery of Government services. As of today, there are over eight thousand Government websites in India. A close look at these websites, belonging to both Central and State Government reveals that most of the important Government entities have already made headway in establishing their presence on the internet and others are in the process of doing so. Every other day, there is a new Government website, be it of a Department of a Ministry, Task forces set-up by the Government, new project, citizen service initiative, State Government Department or even a remote district of India. Awareness about the fast changing ICT world and keenness to keep pace with the latest has ensured that almost all the State Governments in India already have their websites up and running. In fact each state has multiple websites belonging to different Departments.

However, these websites follow different Technology Standards, Design Layouts, Navigation Architecture, or, in simple terms, different look and feel as well as functionality. This invariably requires a common citizen to familiarise himself/herself with the functionality of each individual website which results in a lot of inconvenience, thus defeating the very purpose of these initiatives.

The need for standardisation and uniformity in websites belonging to the Government cannot be stressed enough, in today’s scenario. Ideally, properly audited technical ‘Standards’ should form the foundation of the web efforts of any Country’s Government but it shall take some time for any Country, no matter how developed and advanced it is in terms of ICT levels to reach that stage of maturity. It is therefore imperative that a ‘phased approach’ be adopted to bring out a set of recommended guidelines and policies based on common knowledge and accepted National and International norms. It is suggested that the Indian Government websites adhere to certain common minimum standards which have been derived, in the form of guidelines discussed in this document, as prerequisites for a Government website to fulfill its primary objective of being a citizen centric source of information & service delivery.