Skip to main content

Gujarat govt "firewalls" top sites ending gujarat.gov.in for outside India, "fears" of Russian, Chinese spammers

By Rajiv Shah
Is Gujarat government not interested in non-resident Indian (NRI) supporters to officially know what’s happening in Gujarat, propagated as India’s model state? Facts have come light suggesting that the state’s information technology (IT) establishment has firewalled several Gujarat government websites’ access worldwide, except India, for security reasons.
A top Gujarat government insider confirms, this is the handiwork of a decision taken on state websites. He says, "Just checked. For some foolish reason or rank stupidity all sites with gujarat.gov.in have been denied access to outside India. Instead of taking preventive protective action, a ham-handed approach is used. I am amused and startled... In this age!"
It all began when someone from Gujarat, who is now in US, tried accessing the state finance department site, http://financedepartment.gujarat.gov.in/, on the day the state budget was presented in the state assembly, February 23. “I was shocked”, the NRI said. “For two days I tried to access the site, but failed. I tried it on different browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer – but failed.”
He adds, “Then, I tried to open three other sites, two of the industries department sites -- http://www.imd-gujarat.gov.in/ and http://ic.gujarat.gov.in/ -- and one of the NRI department, http://nri.gujarat.gov.in/, but could not access them.”
An NRI based in Melbourne, Australia, found that none of the above sites could be accessed, also finding it “really strange.” Editing South Asia Times, Neeraj Nanda says, the sites are “redirecting” but thereafter “nothing happens” on Chrome, while Internet Explorer just says, “the page cannot be found.”
A Gujarati NRI based in US, a software engineer, after using available site tools, told Counterview that, the Gujarat government’s official website -- http://www.gswan.gov.in/ -- could be accessed; but the moment on goes to http://www.gswan.gov.in/SitePages/Government-Sites.aspx for accessing the sites of respective state departments, the ones with the "gujarat.gov.in" tag did not work.
He checked four sites on https://www.site24x7.com/ -- of industries and mines, industries commission, NRI and general administration department (GAD) sites.
“I find it really strange. While I could easily open www.gujaratindia.com, the state government portal, those with the tag gujarat.gov.in could not be accessed. I do not know the reason, though the problem appears to be with the state IT service providers”, he says (click HERE  for one of the results).
Roshan Shah
He wonders, “Is this accidental? They should solve this problem. People do want to know from the state government sites about what is happening in the Gujarat government.”
A software engineer in Ahmedabad, Pratik Sinha, told Counterview, after using “different tools” to find out which sites open where, “Except in India, the gujarat.gov.in sites are “not available anywhere in the world.” Currently, he is investigating what could be the “real reason.”
A computer engineer and NRI, who is now in Ahmedabad, Roshan Shah, suspects that the state government “may have done IP blocking” in order to “filter traffic only local to India.” Also a well-known political activist, he strongly believes, “This prevents from spammers, usually Russian and Chinese spammers, seeking to hack website.”
Shah says, “They should have used better technology and firewalls and have better tools to detect and prevent this spamming”, suspecting, “They may not have competency and 24x7 support in place. Perhaps, to them, NRIs/NRGs are not wanted.”
Calling this “lame, very lame”, Shah comments, “We call ourselves democracy but act like a dictator. If an investor wants to invest in Gujarat and wants to get info from government sites, he gets none. No wonder Vibrant Gujarat is going every single day for a big toss.”
Pointing towards how Gujarat has long claimed to have the best internet network anywhere in India, with global outreach, Roshan wonders, “who decides which site goes global and which local, and what is the logic”, adding, after all, it is “all public money on the basis of which these sites are created.”

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.