Coming soon: Govt's Hindi spin on the web - www.?????.????

Domain names will soon be available in all scheduled Indian languages


Pratap Vikram Singh | July 8, 2011

The department of information technology (DIT) has initiated efforts to promote internationalised domain names (IDNs) for the scheduled languages of India, as per N Ravi Shanker, additional secretary, DIT. Shanker said the move would give the languages their rightful place in web age.

He was speaking at a conference organised by DIT in collaboration with national internet exchange of India (NIXI), centre for advanced computing (CDAC) and Verisign on IDNs for Indian languages.

IDNs will allow the user to use his/her native language to type urls on a browser. This was limited to latin characters before, and users had to type .in for Indian domains.  However, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has now permitted IDNs. CDAC is saluting the move with www.?????.????.

ICANN has now opened up its polic, permitting not only country names and institutional names but also new generic top level domain names (gTLDs), which were earlier limited to .edu, .com, .mil etc. Soon one can apply for the name of one’s company or a city such as .kolkata or .delhi or .mumbai in an Indian language.

Shanker informed the audience that the country would soon be part of an elite club of countries offering IDNs and gTLDs in mother tongues.

At the event, Govind, senior director, DIT talked about the opening up of the internet to languages of the world. He expressed that content development in local languages is a major challenge.

M D Kulkarni, associate director and HoD, GIST (graphic and intelligence-based script technology), at C-DAC, Pune said that the conference heralds a new era for domain names in Indian languages. The GIST group has been the pioneer of Indian language computing in the country and to be associated with the IDN and gTLD initiatives has broadened its perspective on the web front, he noted. "The key aspect here is to make both industry as well as the common man aware of the implementation processes so that the user community can benefit at the earliest," Kulkarni said.

The new gTLD was approved by 13 votes to one with two abstentions by the ICANN board at a meeting in Singapore.

Elaborating on the couple of changes introduced by the ICANN, Manish Dalal, vice president, Asia Pacific, VeriSign Services India Pvt Ltd said, “For IDN, Indian government applied for seven Indian languages and subsequently got it approved. The move will open up internet for people who do not know English. It will be a localised experience. For instance, a Hindi or a Tamil speaking person on the internet can type in urls in these languages. IDN is the first step towards toward improving the accessibility and usability of internet by people speaking different languages.”

The change introduced in gLTD is another significant move by ICANN.  Dalal opined, “Now any city, company or a consortium can apply for its own domain name between January and April next year.”

The costs could, however, be prohibitive. The application fee for applying for one's own domain is $185,000. Besides, the applicant will have to shell out $25,000 every year for its maintenance.

Additionally, there still would be some expense that has to be incurred while taking service of the company who would be running the domain.



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