Hindi email addresses could soon be a reality for rural India

Google, Microsoft and Rediff representatives discussed roll out of Hindi email IDs in a meeting called by the Ministry of Electronics and IT.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology held a meeting with representatives of Google, Microsoft and Rediff in an effort to get technology corporations to support email addresses in local languages, starting with Hindi. This is an effort to allow citizens living in rural and semi-rural areas to have access to email.

The meeting was called by Rajiv Bansal, joint secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and IT. 250,000 gram panchayats that will be connected to the internet with high speed access over the next few years under the Bharat Net program. The purpose of the meeting was to allow these new users to actually use basic services on the Internet in their native languages, according to a report in The Economic Times.

There are no major technological roadblocks to the roll out of the feature. In fact, there are international standards already supporting such e-mail IDs, and both Google and Microsoft have indicated that their products are prepared for such a transition. However, all stakeholders have to co-ordinate to enable support of these email addresses in the backend systems. Initially, the email addresses will be made available in Hindi, but other languages will also be supported.

Traditionally, email addresses have only supported characters from the Latin script, but the Internationalized Email Framework supports email IDs in any local language script or variation around the world, including Russian, Greek, Chinese and Hindi. These addresses use the Unicode character set instead of the ASCII character set.