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Firewalled again: Gujarat govt sites aren't visible in Americas, Europe, SE Asia, Australia

Roshan Shah
By Rajiv Shah
Recently, I got a message from an NRI friend settled in Canada, Roshan Shah. Himself a software engineer, he told me that several Gujarat government sites do not appear to be “accessible outside India.” He particularly cited the main state government site, referring to an IT tool, wondering, “When PM has touted Vibrant Gujarat for years, how would any investors trust a government which can't even get its main site, policies etc, accessible to outsiders?”
He continued, “What about medical tourism where patients would want to get in touch with state government or health officials? Narendra Modi keeps blaming Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress for historical issues despite knowing you can't change past, but for months and months, he and his government is unaware that Gujarat Model is not seen outside India. That too despite so many IAS working in the chief minister’s office.”
Roshan asked, “What is the caliber of Gujarat's IAS cadre? Are they even fit to be promoted and transferred to Central government or are they just there doing money management?” I don’t know whom to blame for this, the BJP politicians who are ruling Gujarat, or is it the job of the state administrators without the knowledge of their political bosses.
Be that as it may, I decided to use the IT tool whose link Roshan sent me to find out which of the Gujarat government sites are visible outside India. I tried it for the main Gujarat government site, suggesting results for Singapore, Brazil, Virginia, California, Ireland and Australia. I was surprised: except for the Gujarat government’s science and technology department site, not only the main state government site, other official sites were also not available for viewers outside India.
The results, as on today, suggest the world outside is barred from seeing websites of Gujarat tourism department, Gujarat industries and mines department, Gujarat finance department, Gujarat State Wide Area Network or GSWAN (which Modi had claimed during his tenure in Gujarat which ended in 2014 had provided the best ICT network in India), and Gujarat health department. All of them say "Rendered Unavailable."
I did not care to see other state government departments’ websites such as environment and forests, social justice and empowerment (which takes care of Dalits, OBCs and minorities), tribal development department, agriculture department etc. (call it my laziness), thinking, perhaps the world outside may not be interested in these. Should one presume that these are also not available to the outside world? I don't know.
I recalled I had written an article in Counterview in 2016 which showed the same results. Titled “Gujarat govt ‘firewalls’ top sites ending gujarat.gov.in for outside India, ‘fears’ of Russian, Chinese spammers”, soon after it was published, the state government went into action and ensured that many of these sites are made available to the outside world. I don’t know how long this “transparency” for foreign countries lasted, but after five long years I see the same thing repeated!

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