Internet in India is predominantly an English affair. It is true that there are webpages that range from Hindi to Bengali to Tamil now but still, to reach these pages, you still need to know some amount of English. The domain names are in English and while there are some domain names in which the end names are in Hindi script (kavitakosh is one I know), it is still not possible to have the whole name domain name in local script. One can neither type these scripts and hope to reach the page itself.
These issues make the access of internet in rural areas a pain. Where internet is quickly reaching far and wide in India with its mobile network and cheap smartphones, we still need ton of quality content to reach the huge population that is not adept at English.
In an attempt to boost internet access in such areas, the department of Information Technology and Electronics is planning to launch Hindi language domain names. The occasion they have chosen to launch is aptly 15th August, Independence day of India. This should help in accessing many Indian websites with devnagari scripture as well.
For example, the PMO website (pmindia.nic.in) can be reached by using hindi characters (pradhanmantri.bharat). Note that Bharat also has three characters. Also, government will be ensuring that International Domain Names are also represented in Hindi language.
According to National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) chief executive-
Internet is a global resource and has a key role in socio-economic development of a country. Native languages play a critical role. The initiative will enable nearly half-a-billion Hindi speaking people in the country.
With the help and collaboration of NIXI and C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), the policy framework for the implementation of .bharat country code top level domain (ccTLD) has been put in place. This means that there should not be any glitches in the launch of these domains on Independence day and the process should be smoothly carried out after that.
In fact, the .IN registry, a nodal agency of NIXI is already trying to convince government departments, PSUs and business organizations to adopt .bharat tld as quickly as possible. While Sarkar.bharat and Shiksha.bharat have already been reserved for government and educational institutions, the states are urged to register their respective domain names under .bharat.
As far as I think, the implementation of local language is a great initiative and it should help the government reach more people who cannot use the English language. With its success, the government also has in pipeline the implementation of local languages like Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil and Urdu. That will be the key.
What do you think?