December 2, 2020.
TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: The Center is adopting various schemes and programmes to boost the use of Indian languages on the web. In one such practice, Mr Ajay Prakash Sawhney, informed about government’s step to make all its portals and web pages available in Indian languages for the same. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) Secretary announced the decision on Tuesday at the third edition of ‘Bhashantara’, organised by FICCI. He urged the firms to facilitate required tools and contents in folk languages to promote Indic languages over the internet.
” …enabling the tools which we are now very used to in English, I think it’s very important for us to keep making an effort to bring those tools alive in all the Indian languages. Many of the multinationals, many of the top global companies that have their research centres in India…I think they have a major role to play,” Sawhney said.
He outlined that the government is planning to offer contents in local languages on all its websites, beginning with those of the Centre.
” …as the new technologies start coming in, we are very keen to bring in the government buying as one of the ways to popularise and to provide resources to those tool providers. And then also (we are) very keen to see how a complete category of tools and resources can come onto the GeM platform,” he added.
The step might help the government officials to locate the tools, both across the state and the Centre, required for the completion of their tasks.
Talking about the difficulties faced during the pandemic, he said, ” …one of the things that we had hoped to bring out by now, but has got delayed on account of some of these challenges, has been the national language technology mission. It is now in almost a ready to go situation.”
According to the functionary, the government conducted several meetings with the research communities, academia and industrialists to design the national language technology mission.
” I hope that in December and January, we can actually bring it to a level where we can announce it and where we can move forward. This would have a role, not only for the central government and its ministries and departments and the academia and research players but also for the state governments,” he added.
The Chairman of FICCI ICT and Digital Economy Committee Mr Virat Bhatia, said that almost 700 languages were in use in India till 2013. He also stressed on the increased responsibility of language technologies and Indic languages amid COVID-19.
” Vast majority, if not all of the next 500 million internet users in India will come from non-English speaking and very likely semi-urban and rural citizens of this country…The Indian language internet users are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18 per cent to reach approximately 536 million by 2022. And this will account for nearly 75 per cent of the internet user base in India,” Bhatia said.
Besides, he recommended the government to assist the contents of Indic languages by issuing an incentive tax structure.
” …content writers, developers, aggregators and distributors need to be provided with some sort of a tax incentive, as they will eventually bring down the cost of development and foster innovation, this will go a long way. It’s well known that standardisation leads to lowering of developmental costs, maximising returns and leading to future growth,” he added.
With the effect of the New Education Policy, the government is in a constant process of promoting Indic languages, both offline and online. Moreover, the outbreak of COVID-19 also multiplied the roles of language technologies and Indian languages. The government’s step will help in uplifting the Indic languages.
Source: Economic Times