[Foundation-l] WikifyIndia

Sohel Bohra sohelbohra at gmail.com
Mon May 23 14:46:04 UTC 2011

Dear Wikimedians,

Below is a note we sent on the India Mailing list. Bishakha (from the Board
of Trustees) thought its a good idea to send it on this forum.

We've told her and mentioned it on the site that WikifyIndia owes it all to
Wikipedia and the fantastic community behind it. Our thanks to you all.

Anish and Sohel (User:Sbohra)


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 for 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

The ordinary citizen suffers because good information on government
procedures is unavailable. 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

The scope 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 travel permit 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 incomplete
and outdated. Wikipedia has proved that a bottom up 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 the site 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

WikifyIndia is a non-profit initiative free of advertising and is being run
by a small fund created by the Founders.

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 the Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme,
she should have all the information and forms on the site in her own

Thank you for your time and patience,

Anish and Sohel [User:Sbohra]

More information about the foundation-l mailing list