Srinagar: Official websites of the Department of Social Welfare, J&K, have been displaying outdated contact information and details of various schemes, for almost a year now. According to official sources, some important information related to various welfare and cash benefit schemes dates back to 2015 on the websites.
Hashmat Ali, Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, is still shown as the Director Social Welfare, Kashmir, on the official portal of Directorate of Social Welfare, Kashmir (http://socialwelfarekashmir.jk.gov.in). M Altaf Baba, who has superannuated from the department in August 2018, is still shown as Deputy Director Planning, while Arshid Ahmad Lone, transferred last year from the department, still appears as Chief Accounts Officer.
The webpage of the organisational list also contains the contact numbers of these officials, which is misleading for beneficiaries.
“These officials are the first contact persons for hundreds of poor beneficiaries including students, elderly pensioners and differently abled people. The outdated information on the website puts them to huge inconvenience,” said an official.
He said that District Social Welfare Officers (DSWOs) who had been transferred from the department are still shown against their old posting.
“It has created a lot of confusion among the people, especially those who find it difficult to visit the offices of the social welfare department due to their age or disability,” the official said.
“All DSWOs are the Public Information Officers (PIOs) for their concerned district offices, which is why the process of RTI applications is getting affected,” he added.
Another official said that information about various schemes and other initiatives was also outdated, as the last notification had been updated on April 22, 2015, which was about Pre-matric Scholarship Scheme for students belonging to Minority Communities for the year 2015-16.
Similarly, the website of the Directorate of Social Welfare, Jammu (http://jkdswdj.jk.gov.in) displays outdated information about schemes and new directives and initiatives.
Deputy Director Administration Nighat Alam admitted that the websites which come under her jurisdiction had not been updated since quite a while. However, she blamed the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for the delay in updating the websites.
“We have approached NIC officials many times but they couldn’t update our websites as they were busy with back-to-back elections. First they were busy with the panchayat polls and now the parliamentary elections are keeping them busy,” she said.
“We have to set up the websites anew and the department doesn’t have separate arrangement for updating websites. Insha Allah, it will be done within days,” she said, adding that beneficiaries can contact the department on landline number 0194-2479645 till the website is updated.
Interestingly, the disclaimer on one of the websites, http://socialwelfarekashmir.jk.gov.in/disclaimer.html, says that neither the Directorate of Social Welfare, Kashmir, nor the National Informatics Centre (NIC) is responsibile for any inadvertent error that may have crept in the data displayed on the site – though “every effort has been made to ensure that the data displayed is up to date and error free”.
“However, if any errors are brought to our notice, we will try to correct them. Links to other websites should not be construed as an endorsement of the view contained therein,” the disclaimer says.
“The website has been designed with the view to publishing data related to the Directorate of Social Welfare, Kashmir. The data displayed on this website is only for information and this cannot be used for any claim before the office of the Directorate of Social Welfare, Kashmir, Government of J&K and Court of Law,” it adds.