October 25, 2015
COVAI POST EXCLUSIVE
It is the Internet era, and State governments and the Centre are keen on making everything available online as a part of e-governance. This not only makes the functioning transparent, but also prevents the hassle of a citizen filing an RTI to obtain information that should be made available on the public domain.
But Tamil Nadu government does not seem to be taking this too seriously. Take the case of the official website of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC). It shows that the website is only selectively updated.
According to the official website (www.tasmac.tn.gov.in), the last annual turnover figures of the company has been estimated as Rs. 7,335 crore in 2005-06 and the revenue to government was estimated at Rs. 3258.86 crore, which is 115.23 percent more than when it was started in 1983-84. There are no figures to show for the consecutive years.
The link showing the top selling brands has last been updated between 2003 and 2006 according to the website. A person accessing the organisation details about the Chairman and Board members will not know whether they are still affiliated to TASMAC or not.
However, the links revealing the stock positions and the retail prices of the products are updated until June 3, 2015 and November 1, 2014, respectively in the website.
When Covai Post talked to an official from TASMAC hoping that he would shed some light, it was only disappointing to hear him say that even most of the officials were unaware of such issues. He for his part hoped that the website would be updated after meetings with officials at higher levels.
The official website of Co-optex on the other hand is fully updated till date and is more interactive, with it being an e-commerce website.
Reacting to this, A. Manoj, an activist from Coimbatore, said that according to an RTI, it is favourable that all companies give maximum and transparent data on their websites. Such information would only help the company as it may reduce confusion that may rise due to lack of details required by a common man.
“If the website gives ample information, it would only ease the work of the officials in clarifying doubts,” he said.
Regarding the lack of updates on Government websites, he said that this could be because of the lack of concern of officials to update. “There are not many who frequently visit the websites and hence keeping them up-to-date may not be a priority of officials,” he said.
In the case of TASMAC, his contention is that the government may not be interested in promoting sale of liquor openly by revealing the sales figures.
However, Advocate M. Sundarakadeshwaran claimed that there is no law to make updating of websites mandatory. “Failing to update is not a fault. But the problem will arise only when an RTI is filed for lack of information. However, it would do well for citizens if the website is updated,” he said.