INDIA LEADING THE WORLD IN MULTILINGUAL INTERNET ACCEPTANCE
Jaipur, 24 February: FICCI-ILIA, and the local India UA Chapter, along with the support from key stakeholders NIXI and ICANN, organised a seminar about the use of multilingual Internet in which international speakers participated to express their views. The one-day seminar on “Multilingual Internet and Universal Acceptance” was organised on Friday, at the Hotel ITC Rajputana, Jaipur. This seminar was considered a precursor event for the “Universal Acceptance Day,” which will be held on March 28 by the Indian government in Delhi. As a result of this event, India will be established as a leading country in multilingual Internet acceptance worldwide.
Speaking on the topic during the inaugural address of the seminar, Commissioner and Joint Secretary, IT&C, Government of Rajasthan, Shri Ashish Gupta said, “Local language has its importance as more and more people can be reached through it. Rajasthan government has the Jan Suchna Portal where 695 types of information are readily available along with real-time data. It has approximately 12 crore users. Rajasthan has an 8 crore population, but the reason the portal is popular is that information is available and it is available in local languages.”
He said that recently Tourism Department has also asked the DoIT if they want their website in different languages, especially foreign languages. Shri Gupta talked about the power of harnessing languages, saying that there were times when people stood in lines in government offices. With the IT revolution and computers, a lot of changes have happened. Now, we have E-Mitra kiosks and further state government is developing an intelligent chatbot, which can understand local languages to provide service delivery.
In the special address, Dr Ajay Data, who is the Chairman of UASG, ICANN, and FICCI Task Force on Multilingual Internet and Universal Acceptance, said that UA Day, which India will be leading, will be celebrated on March 28 in 42 countries of the world.
He said, “In India, almost 88 per cent of India’s population, do not use speak English as their primary language. Those who want to use English, have hindrances in accessing the Internet. This is a seminar to raise awareness about the multilingual internet and its universal acceptance in the internet world and break the language barrier. It is a curtain raiser for the UA Day event to be held in Delhi on March 28.”
The simple objective is that all domain names and email addresses work in all software, he added.
In the Keynote Address on “Importance of language & multilingual internet in G2C Services” Shri Sharat Kaviraj, IPS, Inspector General of Police, Jaipur said, “Internet was started in English-speaking countries and its basis and codes are based on English. Internet penetration is now across the globe. Non-English-speaking countries are facing issues. So, global-level efforts are being made for the standardization of other languages where the bulk of the population lives. Police will also have a better connection with the people when Hindi is adopted on the internet, computer keyboards and verbal communication on the internet.”
In another special address during the seminar, CEO, NIXI, Mr. Anil Kumar Jain said, “88 per cent do not speak or understand English. 84 crore have internet and broadband. It has been that they use it for entertainment and to see videos in their own language. Multilingual internet will grow business as more people will connect to the internet world. We contribute 1.5 to 2 per cent of GDP through the internet and these 88 per cent people are connected then the economy will grow fast.”
Mr. Hezekiel Dlamini, Officer-In-Charge and Advisor for Communication and Information for South Asia UNESCO said that the organization is concerned about the multicultural society that exists and uses the internet. UNESCO is concerned that no society is left behind and has access to multilingual content.
Mr. Nitin Wali, Senior Director of Global Stakeholder Engagement for India and South Asia, ICANN, said, “India has taken a lead towards making the multilingual internet a reality. Significant efforts have gone into building infrastructure and policy. The challenge that we need to solve as a community is the universal acceptance of internationalised domain names (IDNs) in applications. For the industry and the software service providers, it is also a huge economic opportunity. He ended with a request for all stakeholders to come forward contribute ideas and engage.
The welcome address was given by Director, FICCI, and Chairperson, Local India UA Chapter, Ms. Sarika Gulyani. Sandeep Nulkar expressed a vote of thanks.
In another session of the seminar, a panel discussion on “The Socio-Economical aspects of UA and Multilingual Internet” was also held. The session was chaired by Dr. Ajay Data, Chairman, UASG, ICANN, Chairman, FICCI Task Force on Multilingual Internet, and Universal Acceptance. The session was moderated by Ankit Tiwari, Co-founder, Chowk Media.
Among the eminent speakers who expressed their views in the panel discussion included, Dr. Amit Jain, President and Vice-Chancellor, Amity University, Rajasthan, Mr. Nitin Wali, Senior Director of Stakeholder Engagement for South Asia, ICANN, Mr. Onkar Bagaria, CEO, VGU and VIT Campus, Jaipur, Mr. Amit Purohit, Mentor, Startup Jaipur, Mr. Sandeep Nulkar, Founder & Chairman, BITS Pvt. Ltd. and Mr. Akshat Joshi, Founder, ThinkTrans.
A special presentation was given by Mr. Brajesh Jain, Co-Chair, Outreach Subcommittee Nomcom 2023.