I must congratulate you on this endeavor because I was recently thinking
about how to approach museums and archives and the amount of channels I
would have to pass in order to access their information. I hope you guys
come up with info on that too!
On Sat, May 21, 2011 at 10:35 PM, Sohel Bohra <sohelbohra(a)gmail.com> wrote:
[[This is a lengthy mail and is cross-posted on all
mailing lists. Kindly
We interact with the government on multiple occasions. The problems are all
too familiar - complex systems, official apathy, corruption - just to name a
Some trivia and stats to qualify these claims:
* Entrepreneurs identified increasing the speed and ease of issuing
permits; lowering taxes; and reducing the time it takes to start a business
as key issues. (Note - All issues relate to government interactions; Source
- Legatum Institute)
* In Mumbai, there are 37 procedural hoops to jump through to gain approval
to build a warehouse. (Source : World Bank)
* On the Corruption Perception Index (2010), India ranks 87th of 178
* Indians are highest ranked in volume of search for terms such as
government rules, passport and registration (Source - Google Trends)
Here's where WikifyIndia - a wiki of government procedures - kicks in.
If Wikipedia is the Thinkers Encyclopedia, WikifyIndia is the Doer's
We (the founders) are ardent believers of the Wikipedia model and want to
apply it to government procedures. Our belief is that ordinary citizens
suffer for two reasons – the process is complex and accurate information is
unavailable. WikifyIndia addresses the latter. Agents distort information to
suit themselves. Officials are rarely friendly. The best solution has always
been to ask someone who has ‘been through the grind’. WikifyIndia does it on
a national level.
The scope of the Project is wide ranging. From getting into the armed
forces to filing a Right To Information request, from complaining about a
broken traffic signal to opening a restaurant, from changing your name to
adopting a child, from applying for euthanasia to marrying in court, from
getting a gun permit to filing your taxes, from getting a permit to climb
peaks to getting a gas connection, it will all be there.
Every article is expected to have a short intro, requirements/eligibility,
procedure, list of documents, timings, fees, application form, sample
certificate among other details. Unlike Wikipedia, WikifyIndia is also a
forum. There is merit in aggregating experiences (for ex. visa experiences
can be quite varied).
Current approaches on the internet are inadequate. Information is retrieved
from Q&A forums, blog posts, agent or government sites. It is incomplete and
outdated. Wikipedia has proved that a bottom approach is far more suitable
in some areas than any top down approach (where a group is formally trying
to organise information). Even if someone did a good job, they wouldn't be
able to distribute it for free.
WikifyIndia complements Wikipedia. The article on Civil Marriage in
Wikipedia is written differently from the same article on WikifyIndia.
When WikifyIndia has adequate accurate content, it will reduce what
economists call 'transaction costs'. Any tool to improve productivity of
citizens, entrepreneurs and organisations will be directly contributing to
the Indian economy. To the best of our knowledge, there is no other site
with a similar approach in any other country. We urge you to jump in and
make a difference.
WikifyIndia is a non-profit initiative free of advertising and is being run
by a small fund created by the Founders.
We (the founders) have cribbed about a @#$% and rotten system for far too
long. WikifyIndia is our way of doing something about it. We ask for your
complete support in adding content, sharing experiences, creating templates
and technical support. The goal is for every government procedure to be
available in every Indian language with complete and accurate guidelines. If
a farmer's wife in Manipur wants to get employed under Rural Employment
Guarantee Scheme, she should have all the information and forms on the site
in her language.
Thank you for your time and patience,
Anish and Sohel [User:Sbohra]
Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
Arts and Aesthetics
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi