The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has issued a 'Directive Related to Development and Management of Website of Government Offices, 2021' exercising the powers conferred by Section 45 of the Good Governance (Management and Operation) Act, 2006.

The directive recently published in the Nepal Gazette requires each government office to develop and operate its own website in compliance with the constitution or prevailing laws. Similarly, the website should not upload and publish any content that causes adverse effects on any group, tribe, ethnicity, religion and sect or that disturbs social peace and harmony.

The website shall include vision, goal and objective of the office; details and responsibilities of the office in-charge, spokesperson, information officer, nodal officer and other employees; telephone number and email ID of employees related to work performance of the office; policy and legal provisions of services to delivered by the office; details of services that the office provides to citizens; procedures and requirements to be fulfilled to receive the services and citizen charter; among others.

"The website shall also contain general information about the office, contact address, frequently asked questions, notice and press release issued by the office, notice of invitation for bids, key webpage links related to functions of the office, its statistics, annual report, documents pertaining to budget and programme, search engine and date of website update," the directive says. As per the directive, the Department of Information Technology will create a template to maintain uniformity in the websites of all government offices. Each government office is required to develop its website in line with the prescribed template.

"The website shall offer high-standard service with facility of user-friendly navigation for each access and provide documents in HTML, World or PDF format so that they could be downloaded or printed," it reads. The website should also have a provision of security audit to make it hack-proof.

The directive mentions that the documents to be published on the website should be both in Nepali and English as far as possible. "The website shall be layout-responsive on mobile, tablet, desktop and laptop without deviation in the layout, while making it disabled-friendly.

The websites developed and operated under this directive shall be hosted on the Government Integrated Data Centre," it reads.

The website must also be compatible with search engines such as Google, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo, Ask and Duckduckgo to help users to locate it by using metadata (keyword). It is mandatory for government offices to evaluate the use and viewership of their websites from time to time with the motive of improving it as per need, listing the most-viewed files in sequence, maintaining records of bandwith utilisation and keeping details of visitor frequency according to Unique IP.

"Each office shall designate a web administrator to update the website and remove old files as per necessity.

It shall also conduct security audit of website through the DoIT at least once a year," the directive says.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 13 2021, of The Himalayan Times.