Local Language Email Ids Could Soon Be A Reality In India

In a crucial step towards promoting local content in order to connect maximum number of people to the world of internet, the government is in talks with the tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and to seek their cooperation in supporting email addresses in local languages. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recently held a meeting with representatives of Google, Microsoft and Rediff in an effort to get technology corporations to support email addresses in local languages, starting with Hindi.

The meeting was called by Rajiv Bansal, joint secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and IT. Around 250,000 gram panchayats that will be connected to the internet with high speed access over the next few years under the Bharat Net program. The purpose of the meeting was to allow these new users to actually use basic services on the Internet in their native languages, according to a report in ET.

“The Bharat Net project will connect 250,000 gram panchayats through high-speed Internet in the next few years, and people should be able to utilise it when it reaches them,” said Rajiv Bansal, joint secretary in the ministry of electronics and IT.

There are no major technological roadblocks to the roll out of the feature. In fact, there are international standards already supporting such e-mail IDs, and both Google and Microsoft have indicated that their products are prepared for such a transition. However, all stakeholders have to co-ordinate to enable support of these email addresses in the backend systems.

Traditionally, email addresses have only supported characters from the Latin script, but the Internationalized Email Framework supports email IDs in any local language script or variation around the world, including Russian, Greek, Chinese and Hindi. These addresses use the Unicode character set instead of the ASCII character set.

While Microsoft says the latest versions of its software support internationalized email addresses. The current versions of Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge and MS Outlook 2016 all support Indian language including in Hindi. Whereas, Gmail started recognizing IDs that contain accented or non-Latin characters such as in Chinese or Devanagri in 2014.

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