In a move that could potentially revolutionise the access to new age communication for people living in rural and semi-rural India, technology giants like Google, Microsoft and homegrown providers including Rediff will soon be start extending support to email addresses in local languages, starting Hindi.
According to an Economic Times report, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, in a meeting convened last month, asked service providers like Google, Microsoft and Rediff to enable users to sign up for addresses in local languages, starting with Hindi.
The move is aimed at ensuring that when internet reaches rural and semi-urban areas, sufficient local-language content and the tools to access them are available.
“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,” Economic Times quoted Rajiv Bansal, joint secretary in the Department of Electronics and Information Technology.
Meanwhile, executives of service providers are of the view that the technology allows for email addresses in scripts such as Devanagri.
They, however, feel that government should not enforce this through decree and rather encourage the industry to follow suit.
“What is stopping our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officers in government from sending out emails to the public from a Hindi email address?” said Venki Nishtala, chief technology officer of Rediff.
The latest versions of Microsoft’s software support email addresses, signed up in international languages.
While email addresses have only supported characters from the Latin script so far, Gmail started recognising IDs that contain non-Latin characters such as in Devanagri or Chinese in 2014 itself.