Soon, Multi-Language Support To Be Must For Mobile Handsets
To catalyze the ‘Digital India’ vision and to bring E-Governance within easy reach of every Citizen, the Department of Electronics & IT (DeitY) is planning to make it mandatory for all mobile handsets being manufactured or sold in India to come loaded with multi-language support feature.
According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the number of local language Internet users in India is growing at 47% year-on-year and touched 127 million in June 2015, thanks to the increasing use of smartphones in rural areas of the country.
India has a large scope for local language Internet as non-English speaking population constitute 88% of the population. At least 50% of the population speaks Hindi, says the report.
The report also cites the challenge as most of the apps currently provide only partial local language content.
The move would have a momentous impact on the speed of governance and the way utilities and services such as education, health, permissions, licenses etc are accessed by citizens as only about 10 percent of Indians are supposedly conversant and comfortable in transacting in English language. Absence of multi-language support feature has been a major stumbling block in unleashing the full power of mobile handset and Digital India vision to utilize the power of mobile handsets as the “device of choice” for implementation for various E-Governance schemes.
This move comes as a result of months of persistent effort by Indian Cellular Association (ICA) led by its National President Pankaj Mohindroo who succeeded in convincing manufacturers about the need and desirability of introducing these features despite cost escalation and technology challenges on one hand and to recommend a viable solution for implementation of the same to the Government.
“I am very happy that our persistent efforts are going to bear fruits very soon. Provision of multi-language support in every mobile will catalyze Digital India program, make life of citizens convenient as accessibility to critical services and utilities will become extremely fast and transparent. In short, this is real empowerment of Citizens and I am happy that mobiles will become the new symbol of this new age empowerment,” commented Mohindroo.
“I wish to thank both the industry as well as the government who have pro-actively acted on this matter in the Interest of the Nation” added Mohindroo.
As per the scheme of things, DeitY has already Instructed the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to formally come out with an Indian standard that could be used for implementation of the same.
The final standard will be published soon after consultations with the Industry and other stakeholders as per the process followed at BIS. Nonetheless, some features which are likely to be standard features of all future handsets will have a minimum 4MB of memory out of which 2MB would be reserved for official Indian Languages support; message readability would be provided for all 14 scripts and 22 official Indian languages and inputting of text would be available in English, Hindi and at least one additional Indian Language.