International Domain Names now in Indian languages

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"Before venturing into the sea a fishermen should be able to check the weather report using Internet. Of course, he should be surfing the web in the language he speaks. Until and unless an eco-system for him like this is created, enabling Indian languages as primary source of information will remain elusive for Indians. Further more, the web address, which he should be typing must be the Inscript key-board"

This was the main theme of a knowledge sharing and interactive session titled 'Awareness raising workshop on IDN' - International Domain Names - held in Bangalore on Monday. Several experts from the Internet industry, mainly from the IT corridors of the Government of India shared their views and expressed the need for IDNs and that it must be made available in all Indian Languages.

Tulika Pandey, Additional Director, E-Infrastructure Division, DIT was the guest of honor and delivered a talk on the initiatives undertaken by the DIT for IDNs. Presently ICANN has approved the Internet Protocol address spaces and assignment of address blocks to 7 regional Internet registries from India - Hindi, Gujarathi, Urdu, Bengali, Telugu Tamil and Punjabi. The other 15 scheduled languages including Kannada is now in line for recommendations.

The workshop is a result of the joint effort of ICANN and the Government of India to enable the availability of domain names in Indian languages. In the past, IDNs were available only in Latin characters and having your domain name in an Indian script was impossible. But today with this new initiative, having your domain name in an Indian language like www. ಸೀಡಾಕ್.ಇಂಡಿಯ will soon be a reality, she said.

Ms Pande added, "the workshop is a crucial factor that will determine the success of the IDN initiative for Indian languages. Although there is no doubt that it signals a positive time for the acceptance of Indian languages on the World Wide Web, there will be a number of issues that will require deliberation for its smooth implementation, security and confidentiality being some of the key elements within that framework. Both stakeholders and the industry have to come forward to iron out the underlying issues and set the standards towards raising the confidence level of the user community, and thereby its wide acceptance."

Talking about the implementation of the Kannada script in IDNs, Dr Sarat C Babu, Executive Director, Bangalore said that the move “will strategically impact the penetration of the Internet at the grassroots level. The script and language of any community is an emotional connect, and the Government of India has pulled off a miracle of sorts by taking cognizance of this aspect to introduce Indian languages on the internet. The first step has been taken and it is up to us to determine the rest of its journey".

Commenting on the workshop, Shri M D Kulkarni, Associate Director & Head, GIST, C-DAC, Pune said that the workshop 'heralds' a new era for domain names in Indian languages. The GIST group has been the pioneer of Indian language computing in the country and to be associated with the IDN, initiative has broadened its perspective on the web front.

But the only academician who seemed unhappy was Dr. B. Mallikarjun, Reader come Research officer at CIIL Mysore. The center has failed to allocate sufficient funds to support Kannada on the internet space. Kannada must get its due share, otherwise what is great in boasting about the tag Classical Language?

Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) organized the Workshop special emphasis on Kannada. However, for strange reasons neither C-DAC invited the officials in IT department government of Karnataka nor the IT savvy officials volunteer to attend. This reporter spotted couple of enthusiastic officials who are always ready to dirty their hands to publishing Kannada content (Unicode) on http://www.kar.nic.in/

Later speaking to oneindia.in, Mr. M. D Kulakarni said the domain names .in registration would begin sooner or later. "In the Sun Raise Plan A, trade mark holders would be allotted domains names, while in Plan B, Indian trade mark holders operating overseas would be allowed to register names. in the last leg, that is Sun Raise Plan C; institutions already having .in addresses can get language domain names of their choice. Finally, the domains names will be made available for public. Only then, you can register names like www.गंगाजमुना.इन in  Hindi or www.ವಾಲ್‌ಮಾರ್ಟ್.ಇನ್ in Kannada."

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