We had recently heard about .Bharat domain name to be rolled out soon and now news has it that domain names in Indian languages will be making the debut. According to a report by The Hindu, Govind, CEO, NIXI (National Internet Exchange of India) and Chairman of .IN registry announced this move at the World Domain Day 2014.
He revealed that domain names that end with .Bharat in Devanagri script will now cover seven Indian languages namely, Boro, Hindi, Dogri, Konkani, Maithalai, Marathi, Nepali and Sindhi starting August 27. He also said to soon include support for other languages such as Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati, Urdu, Tamil and Punjabi.
He also revealed that the National Internet Exchange of India is working to promote Internet in rural areas. “Internet governance is coming up in a big way and we need to have a multi-stake holder approach for issues pertaining to public policy and critical Internet resources,” he reportedly disclosed.
While some quarters have welcomed the introduction of the new domain, others are doubtful of its success given the low internet penetration and low literacy rate in the country. A June 2014 report from research firm eMarketer, India had the third largest online user-base globally after China and the US but had the lowest internet penetration growth in Asia Pacific at 17.4%. Osama Manzar, who heads the Digital Empowerment Foundation, suggests getting more people and public institutions online rolling out local language domain names.
“This is not a bad move, but I doubt and wonder if it will encourage people to buy domain names in Indian languages. Is it in sync with the national digital infrastructure? It is important that the government encourage every department and village panchayat to get online with a website along with this,” says Manzar.
On the other hand, there is also the view that the move towards a multilingual web need not follow a set path. “If a poor person buys a mobile phone before he builds a toilet, who are we to judge? It is a market phenomenon. Like a jigsaw, some pieces of the puzzle may be worked out in advance. There are things like Indic input keyboards, text to speech and speech to text that need to be in place before an Indic language speaker can have the same experience as an English language user of the internet,” says Sunil Abraham, executive director of Bangalore-based research organization Center for Internet and Society.
With input from IANS