*Govt starts website to explain economic terms and concepts*
 Remya Nair

 The government has started Arthapedia, a website designed on the lines of
Wikipedia, that will act as a source of reference for economic terms and
concepts used in the public policy domain in India.

The website, an attempt by the government to bridge the gap between
policymakers and the general public, was inaugurated on Monday by Planning
Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia as a part of the golden
jubilee celebrations of the Indian Economic Service. It will cater to the
requirements of academicians, economists, policy practitioners, journalists,
students and other interested parties, both within India and abroad.

“The objective of this portal is to increase transparency in government by
simplifying indigenous concepts or by introducing domestic institutions to
support the professional development of public policy economists,” the
website says. “It is meant to enrich and enhance citizen-friendly policy
formulation through dialogue and collaborative action.”

A finance ministry official involved in the designing of the website said
government officials may frequently use some terminologies unique to India
such as *panchayati raj* and flagship programmes, such as the Mahatma Gandhi
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, but their exact scope and
meaning may not be well known to others. “The idea is to explain the meaning
and relevance of the terms in the Indian context. Also, some terms may have
different meanings in different countries. It is important that the Indian
context is explained,” she said.
Besides explaining terms and concepts, the website will also offer detailed
profiles of some of the key Indian policymakers. To begin with, the website
has uploaded five profiles—Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; finance minister
Pranab Mukherjee; C. Rangarajan, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council
to the Prime Minister of India; Ahluwalia; and Reserve Bank of India
governor D. Subbarao.

Users willing to upgrade the text and context of a particular word can open
the text on a virtual mode and edit the same with authentic references. The
edited content is posted after being moderated by the editorial board. In
the initial phase, however, only serving IES officers will be allowed to
write the content of this website and non-IES persons can only post comments
and queries for now.

To be sure, the website has a disclaimer that says the government of India
does not monitor the entries and the views expressed therein are not
necessarily those of the government. “The entries, therefore, must not be
treated as official statements of policy or definitions”.
It will, however, take some time for the website to become a one-stop
destination for all terms, concepts and profiles of eminent personalities.

“Going ahead, the challenge will be to sustain the portal with constant
upgradation,” Kaushik Basu, chief economic adviser in the finance ministry,


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