In the past couple of years, India has witnessed a massive change in the way consumers access data. From businesses to school projects, everything has gone online. While we slowly yet steadily enter the web-age, the Indian government has been doing its bit to make online services available for citizens. Today, we have numerous government websites for business and personal use. Whether it's filing tax returns or applying for a passport, there are easy to use online facilities. We have picked three such most helpful sites that assist citizens of India.
Railways are the most popular mode of transport in India. Its website is actively being used by netizens for information and e-ticketing. The Indian Railways website has been neatly designed to accommodate all possible relevant information for personal as well as business use. It includes everything from train/passenger and freight information to recruitment and tenders. To avoid excess load, the site will re-route you to its dedicated sister sites such as IRCTC for reservation and Indianrail for passenger reservation enquiry.
IRCTC doesn't need an introduction; it is subsidiary of the Indian Railways and handles the catering, tourism and online ticket booking. Indianrail brings all passenger related information such as PNR status, seat availability, fare enquiry, tatkal and upgraded passenger schemes, and directs users to IRCTC for booking e-tickets. One can also access Trainenquiry that brings quick information at your fingertips. Users can key in train number, train name, source, destination or a combination of these and find out all the information about trains, routes and timings.
e-ticketing through IRCTC website
According to the Opera Software’s State of the Mobile Web report for November 2012, government websites come in the top 10 categories widely used by consumers. In fact, in the travel category, indianrail.gov.in is the most visited site while indianrailways.gov.in takes the seventh position.
Gone are the days when applying for a passport meant either through an agent or repeated disappointing visits to the passport office. The Indian government has simplified the process via its Passport Seva online initiative. The PassportIndia website now allows users to apply for passport, schedule an appointment and also make online payment. It offers two options – e-form submission (recommended by the government) and Online form submission. No matter which one of these options you choose, one has to register with the Passport Seva portal with a unique ID and password. Also, online payment for these services has been made mandatory, which can be done using debit/credit cards or Internet banking.
Apply for passport online
In e-form submission, users have to download an e-form, then fill and validate it. They will have to then upload the XML file on Passport Seva portal to schedule an appointment (subject to availability). After scheduling an appointment, users will be given a number/receipt. They will have to carry this printout to the nearest Passport Seva kendra during the appointment. In Online Form submission, once you log into the Passport Seva portal, fill in the details and schedule an appointment. You will get a similar receipt/appointment number that you have to carry along with you to the Passport kendra. On visiting the Kendra and submitting all the documents, you can track the progress of the passport you’ve applied for on the site. Apart from fresh/re-issuing of passports, the site also offers services such as applying for police clearance certificate and tracking status of the applications.
Another aspect that is quite tedious to deal with is income tax-related declarations, filing for returns and so on. Moreover, it is important to do all this within a stipulated time period. The Income Tax Department has made it simpler by allowing users to pay taxes, file returns, view tax credit and more online. While now is the time to file returns, users can easily do so via Incometaxindiaefiling. On the right side of the site, one will find all relevant returns forms (ITR 1 to 7). Users just need to download the ones depending upon their source of income, and submit it. Apart from this, the site also lets you calculate tax and apply for a pan card online.
Filing for returns online
Besides these handy websites that serve people efficiently, we would also like to mention Data.gov.in. The website allows access to the data generated by various Government of India entities. This website is a part of the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy, managed by Department of Science and Technology. The data and metrics can also be used by those who are making web/mobile apps related to government data. The GOIDirectory is great site that offers information anbout all Indian government websites at all levels and from all sectors.
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