Only three state government websites possess Malayalam interface
Kerala is one of the few states in the country that are actively working towards enabling web-based delivery of government services and constantly seeking to improve the interface with citizens through effective use of technology.
However, the Department of Economics at St Teresa’s College here has identified an important lacuna in the otherwise commendable e-governance efforts of the state government-- only three of the state government’s departmental websites presently possess a Malayalam interface for communication.
Advocating efficient and timely delivery of e-governance services to the layman, the college authorities have written to the state government to bring out its websites in the Malayalam language.
Except for three government websites, namely of the local self government department, e-district and social welfare department, no other government website has a Malayalam interface.
A letter sent recently by the college to the Chief Minister and other Cabinet ministers has pinpointed this loophole in the state’s e-governance efforts.
The letter points out that even the women’s commission website is not available in Malayalam, a major hindrance for native, non-English speaking women to access e-governance services, and has requested urgent action from the government in this front. The college identified this problem while working on the formulation of a self-help guide in Malayalam for accessing basic e-governance services of the state.
“A handbook, ‘Vivaranidhi’, developed by us was released by Union Minister Kabil Sibal on September 10 at the college. It enlists basic e-governance services and demystifies the access route to these services for the layman. It was well received and widely discussed for its aid to spread the message of e-governance,” said Nirmala Padmanabhan, head of Economics Department at St Teresa’s College.
“When the handbook was featured before various residents’ associations, we were flooded with requests to provide a Malayalam translation of the book. We noticed that to model a Malayalam translation of the book, there was no back-up available on government websites,” she said.