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January 25, 2000
PMO to launch website tomorrow
Neena Haridas in Delhi
Would you like to walk down the Prime Minister's Office in South Block? A grievance you wish to register? Make a philanthropic gesture towards the Prime Minister's Relief Fund? Or simply tell the prime minister what you think of him?
Now all this and more is just a click away.
In tune with the Vajpayee government's tech drive, the PMO is launching a portal site at http://www.pmindia.nic.in, aimed at "demystifying the prime minister and his Cabinet to the common man."
Says an official at the PMO, speaking on condition of anonymity, "The common man perceives the prime minister and his ministers as demigods. They think they are inaccessible. With this site we want to get the people closer to the PMO."
"The site is not on Atal Bihari Vajpayee," warns the official, "it is about the PM's office." Hence, the portal site (A declaration here: the site has been created by the web solutions team at rediff.com) with over 300 pages spans the lives of all the prime ministers of India, with, of course, special focus on Vajpayee, including his poems and speeches. "Almost all the ministries have websites today, therefore the PMO also decided to launch a site," says the afore-quoted official.
According to this official, the idea of launching a site for the PMO was conceived about six months ago. "The idea is to make the government more accessible. It is part of the opening up process that this government has undertaken," he adds.
Which is not to say that Vajpayee will himself answer e-mail sent to the site. Says the official, "The PMO is a very structured organisation. We get thousands of letters every day. With this site it becomes easier for the common man to send in his opinions, views, suggestions and complaints. The PM's aides and secretaries will sit down and attend to the messages accordingly. There are officials who are responsible for various sectors and they will take care of the relevant issue."
The site, which is meant to be "serious and interactive," takes the surfer on a trip down memory lane and the maze around South Block. A page is dedicated to all the former prime ministers, with links to the important decisions taken by each PM and its impact on the country.
Another click of the mouse takes the surfer to the rooms and conference halls at South Block, the seat of government in New Delhi. "This will give people an idea as to how each ministry functions, where the prime minister and the ministers sit etc. This is a way of bringing the government closer to the masses."
On a more serious note, the page on the National Defence Fund and the Prime Minister's Relief Fund provides information about the objective of the funds. If a person wishes to contribute to the funds, all he needs to do is paste a message on the board.
"The best thing about the site is that it is linked to all the major government sites. Hence, it will be a one stop for information for the surfer," says the PMO official. "If you have a suggestion to make to the defence minister or railway minister, you could get linked through the PMO site."
For the surfer who is not really keen on the government's national agenda or the infrastructure task force, there is a lighter side to browse. A Cartoon Gallery will carry the best of the nation's finest cartoonists -- R K Laxman, Sudhir Dar, Sudhir Tailang...
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