Indian railways example of public information monopoly
Posted by gbissa on October 18, 2008
Today Indian railways blocked showing seat availability and pnr status data from all the private train information sites which were giving the information in user-friendly manner. This is really a monopoly nothing else. In this information age Indian railways blocking all the sites means they are not interested about public . they have auctioned the website for ad at 4.5 crore to a private agency. they want to earn money nothing else. The guys who started this private sites to show the train information to public at the public interest and also a passion to create something new, CRIS (centre for Railway Information system)who manage the official website of Indian railways have never updated there information pages as they are govt. servant and you know what could expect from them.Showing information of public domain is not illegal but it helps public. Has anyone given the complaint about any of this site that they are showing wrong information. they are just showing the same page of Indian railway official website in a interactive and user friendly manner. If Indian railways or CRIS are really interested of public then they can also show the information on a user friendly manner and also get the good public response
For example www.erail.in never store the live data of pnr status and seat availability in their server. They were showing the original page of www.indianrail.gov.in and that also all the information in a single page. in this age monopoly will not work if someone go to the court CRIS will surely going to lost the case , there are so many examples of showing information of public importance by private entrepreneurs. All the news paper showing the train departure and arrival time,seat availability every week and some newspaper show daily because it helps general public . instead of blocking the private site CRIS should have welcome them as they are helping public when the Indian railway server is down (which is always slow) and the important public information cannot be copyright.
We must as citizens fight to promote such efforts and not succumb to hegemony of government departments. The official website ranking is dropping every month (see http://www.alexa.com) and they are fearing of competition. Instead of competition they are warning and blocking the new comers who are having a passion to do something for Indian public.
Indian railways should consider this private site as a better alternative and not competition. After all cooperation is better than competition.
compare this private site with the official sites yourself and see what this new boys has done without thinking of money (Except google AdWords they do not get any revenue from this sites) which is the only motto of Indian railways and CRIS.