According to the United States Code (44 U.S.C. 1901), a government publication may be described to be as “… details that are printed as a unique record for which money is spent by the Government, or as needed legally.” In India, thanks to the presence of the central ministries including the parliament and divisions at both state and domestic levels, the government collectively produces a huge amount of documentation (Singh, 1982). It is the right of the public to know what is being done by their chosen representatives for their welfare. Benefit and importance of data published in government publications when made openly available for public, it’s potential value could be realized to the fullest. On the other hand, it is government’s foremost duty to see that its citizens are properly informed on everything. Government uses various methods for dissemination of information like radio, television and by means of print media. The creation of information and communication, most of the information is disseminated through websites. The execution of the Right to Information Act has resulted in the demand and access of Government publications to increase dramatically. Instead of policies, a huge amount of information created by different firms and companies in the nation is not easily accessible by the common man despite this information not being sensitive in character and could be employed by the people to fulfill financial, scientific and growth objectives.
Importance of Government Publications:
The International Organization for Standardization prints the International Records Management Standard. A record according to the International Organization for Standardization (2001) is “information created, received and maintained as evidence and information by an organization, or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business.” This is government’s responsibility to create and disseminate complete and accurate records of what they are doing for their citizens. These reports are crucial resources that belong to the government. To state otherwise, the reports offer validation of how the government trade is undertaken and can be in different forms or modes. There are pre-decided strategies or processes for developing particular kinds of reports. Government document comes out from government records which are not sensitive in nature and useful to researchers, students and citizens in many ways. For example undertaking the populace census in a nation like India that boasts of a wide variety of physical attributes is undoubtedly a huge and tricky issue. The Indian census is the best and most suitable source for planners, analysts, administrators and other people needing the information. Various Government organizations and departments are producing user centered, trustworthy and real data. Government survey reports are primary source of information. To give updated and correct data, many data collection projects run by Government for whole year.
Categories of Government Publication:
Government journals are published at different levels and categories to cater the need of people in an effective way (Hernon, 1979). Depending on the user and type of information, Government publications can be categorized into the following categories:
1. Central/ Federal Government Publications (National Level):
The Indian Legislature is known as the Parliament. It is made up of two Houses, referred to as the Council of States or Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People or Lower House (Lok Sabha). The Indian Parliament enacts the fundamental operations of lawmaking, managing the working, validating the budget, providing people a chance to discuss their complaints and debating on different domains such as growth plans, national strategies and global associations.
Government publications at the national level comes from Parliament i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Central Ministries and their departments (annexure 1), Parliamentary Committees and their offices like Cabinet Secretariat which work directly under Prime Minister (India. Research Reference & Training Division 2010). Central Secretariat Services, Union Public Service Commission and Staff Selection Commission also producing government publications frequently. “Inter State Council Secretariat, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and Administrative Tribunals are nodal agencies work for Central Government and produces publications at national level” (India. Research Reference & Training Division 2010, pg.48). Some national level publications are census reports, business growth reports, gender statistics, employment rate, GDP growth rate etc. Government generally caters three types of users, users with general interest, business people and researchers.
2. State Government Publications (State Level):
Publications at state level come from Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) and Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) of the state. Publications at state level include information about the activities of various committees as well as departments related to Parliamentary Standing Committees. State level publications also includes state legislature bill information, committee hearing, debates, details of votes and governor’s action plan, general reports and annual reports , state municipal acts and state commission reports, circulars and notifications. Most of the state governments also publishes “periodical publications” which includes monthly, fortnightly or weekly publications containing public interest news or features. Most of these publications are disseminated through print and electronic media.
3. Local Government Publications (Local Level):
The local government acts as a medium of interaction amongst the state government and the community. The requirement stated by the domestic society while sent to the state government, as it is responsible to appoint the local government; however, individuals inhabiting the far-away locations are made aware of the governmental strategies and programmes via the domestic entities (Sachdeva, 2011).
Local government guarantees an intimate and strong association amongst the individuals and the higher level of governments by employing varied modes of interaction including publications. In a quarterly publication of Panchayat Smachar, Orrisa government stated that “Information is key element in rural development, where information is often deliberately not passed as it provides power to the information hoarders over common people” (Panchayati Raj Department, 2003). The primary details related to the growth schemes and programmes of Panchayati Raj and rural growth for the individuals who cannot or are not permitted to reach the intended people, leading to lack of the likely advantages to the intended individuals. A mode of interaction, suitable to bridge the gap amongst those benefitting from the schemes and the one who plans the growth is pertinent as adequate involvement is needed to ensure successful execution of the rural development programmes.
The significance of interaction is to motivate individuals and ensure their involvement in the development procedure is identified adequately. Statements and reports from government side play a pivotal role in spreading awareness to the people in context of the character and subject matter of the development programmes. Information at grass root level allows individuals to be aware, seek options, decide and use their options and comprehend in a suitable way, the influence that the growth procedure would have on their lives, their homes and the society in general. Local publications have become more significant in management of the local and rural government for development programmes. They accord clarity to the system and assist the general people to make choices after having complete knowledge (Kumar et al, 2013).
Publication at this stage includes information about city departments, offices and divisions, compilation of city ordinances, profile of the city, including demographics, business information and more. Publications also include details related to the development programmes such as handbooks, directives, success stories linked to their programmes, employment modes & other linked topics.
4. Foreign Government Publications (Foreign Government level):
According to the U.S. Federation of American Scientists (n.d), foreign government publication may be described as documents given to the U.S. Government by a government or governments overseas, a global organization of governments, or any aspect that is part of the same, with the anticipation that the details, the source providing the details, or both would remain private. Foreign government publications includes international exchange agreements, gifts, gazettes, parliamentary debates, rules and other official publications of foreign national agencies. Foreign government publication can be available at agency’s overseas offices, embassy offices or in special collection of country’s National Library. For instance National Library of India also gets government magazines of the United States of America, Great Britain, Canada, and other Commonwealth nations. The National Library in Kolkata boasts journals of the European Economic Committee and having nearly all the volumes of the British Parliamentary papers since the starting of the 19th century.
5. International/ Inter-Government Organization’s Publications:
“A group founded by two or more state governments to undertake ventures and designs that would be beneficial to both is referred to as an intergovernmental organization documents” (Union of International Associations, 2013). Encyclopedia of Public International Law states that “An association of states established by and based upon a treaty, which pursues common aims and which has its own special organs to fulfill particular functions within the organization”.
Instances include the United Nations, the World Bank, or the European Union etc. According to Thomas J. Volgy intergovernmental organizations are bodies developed with adequate institutional framework and freedom to offer official, consistent, multilateral procedures of decision making amongst the states, apart from the ability to enact the mutual keenness of their members states (Volgy, 2008). Several IGOs issue journals and records that may attract the attention of a legal analyst. “Several reports including agreements, charters, laws, acts, proceedings, documents issued by the IGO’s legislative body, and decisions of the IGO’s adjudicative body are printed by IGOs” (White, 2005). In the opinion of Abbott (1998), two main operations of intergovernmental firms include provision of a consistent institutional framework and some degree of freedom in a limited domain. Consistency of the institutional framework (in context of regular communication by states in addition to a managerial tool to guarantee both organized communications and consistency of the firms) and independence are also essential for organizational notions related to power, to assess both global governance and hegemony (Volgy, 2006). Several global firms generate different record with the subsequent aims and subjects:
Publications describing their work like summary of its origin, purpose, mission, etc.
Publications describing and evaluating problems like the current, mathematical, and investigative data related to agriculture and food, corruption, health and wellbeing, social issues, bylaws and agreements, policy suggestions, case studies of member nations and international statistics covering a variety of topics gives comprehensive access to statistical data.
Original Reference Article:
- Jain, C. (2017). Evolving a Model for National Digital Repository of Indian Government Publications using Institutional Repository Infrastructure.