Internet Corporation meeting in New Delhi

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New Delhi, Feb 8 : The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body charged with overseeing Internets addressing system, will hold its 31st international public meeting here on February 11.

This is the first meeting of the ICANN in India and it assumes significance as India is fast emerging as a country and a region at the forefront of the waves of changes to the Internet.

The meeting of ICANN is scheduled to discuss the mid-term review of ICANN's Joint Project Agreement (JPA) with the US Government and its goal of continued transition of its role to the private sector.

It may be recalled that ICANN was created through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the US Department of Commerce and ICANN, a public private partnership, to transition management of the Domain Names System (DNS) from the U.S. Government to the global community.

The last JPA was signed between the U.S. Department of Commerce and ICANN in October, 2006, a pact for three years extending the U.S. Department of Commerce over sight of the body while leaving the possibility open of the Group becoming independent as early as April this year.

Another issue, which is likely to figure prominently in the meeting, is a workshop on Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in the Indian languages and scripts.

IDNs is one of the critical factors for democratization and universalisation of the Internet. Already 13 languages test names have been introduced by ICANN, which include Devnagari, and Tamil scripts.

With 22 official languages, India is pushing for more language names at the top level so that Internet becomes accessible and available to those sections which do not understand English.

India believes that multi-lingual internet will increase local interests in internet contents and increase the possibilities for all language groups to share and access information in their own language.

ICANN is a multi-stakeholder body. The Government Advisory Committee (GAC) is one of the components of ICANN. GAC advises ICANN on various public policy issues relating to Internet. The Government of India is a member of the GAC.

Furthermore, the Secretariat of the GAC is presently housed in the Department of Information Technology, Government of India for a five-year period from 2006 to 2010.

Secretary, Information Technology, Jainder Singh will address the inaugural session of the ICANN meeting.

The meeting will conclude on February 15.

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