India's regional languages get a boost with Digital India

India's regional languages get a boost with Digital India.

Times of India reports that all feature phones sold in India will soon have to be compatible with a local language. The Department of Electronics & Information Technology recently sent a draft amendment to the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) for notification of the norm. "It is critical to have digital content in Indian languages and for devices to be compatible with at least one Indian local language for Digital India to succeed," a senior government official told ET. Digital India is a programme aimed at transforming the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

The BIS is expected to notify the order requiring the compatibility by March, the official said. The department hasn't decided when to extend the notification to smartphones. Most handsets in India already support various local languages, but this is being made mandatory now. Feature phones make up over 60% of the handset market, though smartphone sales are growing faster. The department will notify a policy to develop local language machine-based translation and other technologies through common pooling of Indian language resources. As many as 100 central government websites will provide local language content through machine translation. "We have set an internal deadline of September for readying the Indian language websites," the official explained. The move is part of the communications and IT ministry's Digital India programme, which is aimed at connecting every citizen through information highways and provide essential government services electronically even in the remotest parts. "So far, the government has announced its vision. Next eight months citizens will begin to see operationalization of Digital India," the official added.

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