After alert, railway officials told not to use private email services

After alert, railway officials told not to use private email services

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The Ministry of Railways has directed officials across its network to use @gov.in or @nic.in domain email services only for all formal communications. The instructions follow an alert issued by a central law-enforcing agency to the Chairman, Railway Board, which specifically prohibited the use of private email services like Gmail, Yahoo etc for official communications.

In an advisory sent out to general managers of all zonal railways, heads of production units and other railway establishments, the Railway Board said the initiative was part of measures taken by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to secure government websites, “considering the increased threat perception in the cyber space”.

Insisting on the use of government domain email identities and reiterating an earlier order which also emphasised on the use of @gov.in/@nic.in services for uninterrupted services and security reasons, the advisory said that to secure web portals and prevent any sniffing attacks, the websites, both Internet and intranet and other sub-domains of respective railway units should obtain secure socket layer (SSL) certification at the earliest.

Guidelines flouted

It had come to notice that websites of a number of field units were designed, developed and hosted through private entities which did not conform to the Guidelines for Indian Government Websites (GIGW) Version 2.0, 2019. Many such websites were not hosted on .gov.in or .nic.in domain, it said.

Urging the authorities concerned to ensure that any website developed and/ or owned by any of the field units should scrupulously conform to GIGW Version 2.0 standards and use only .gov.in or .nic.in domains allotted exclusively and restricted to government websites, the Railway Board underlined the need for strict compliance to the alert.

The GIGW Version 2.0 was developed by the National Informatics Centre in 2019 and adopted by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, as an ‘Integral part of Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure’.

Railway officials were also directed to initiate urgent steps to ensure that the information available on all railway websites was “current” and “fully updated”. The railway units concerned were told to check whether the content was up-to-date and certify the same in writing.

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