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Making internet accessible and available in the language of the Indian consumers is an absolute prime objective of the government: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Dec 13, 2021

NEW DELHI, 13 December 2021: Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Govt of India today said, "Making the internet accessible, available and being able to contribute to the internet in India is on high priority with the government and we want to achieve this in the short term." He further added, "After the Bharat Net project (world's largest rural broadband project) is rolled out, we are going to very soon have billion plus Indians who would be online accessing internet and availing public goods, services."

Addressing 'Bhashantara - Indic Internet: The Foundation of Next Phase of Digital Transformation, organized by FICCI, jointly with MeitY, Mr Chandrasekhar said that our vision is not just connecting every Indian but making sure that the type and the nature of the internet that we experience are defined by open internet along with being safe and trusted. "It is in the area of making the internet available in the language of the Indian consumers choice that we are trailing behind. We need to have a real roadmap and we don't want to mandate this. We would like the industry to step up and do on their own," he emphasized.

India, he said is now determined to be the preeminent country in the world to use technology for its advancement, growth, empowering every Indian, improving governance on one hand while creating jobs and investment opportunities on the other hand. We also have to create deep capabilities around emerging areas of future technologies. "We want to use technology in a very deep, positive and accelerated manner to achieve these objectives. Technology and the internet cannot be anything but inclusive," added Mr Chandrasekhar.

The Minister further urged the industry to come forward in ensuring that search engines and emails should also be made available in multiple languages. "These are things that we must achieve in the short term, and it is easily doable. MeitY will be the enabler to these efforts, and it is very important for us to deliver this to the Indian users," he noted.

Mr Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Govt of India said that language options on the internet is a major step that will enable more people to use the platform in a much effective way. "In the National Language Translation mission, we are in the process of drafting a similar National Public Digital platform. This will bring all data and resources that are available which can fuel the growth in technologies in and around Indian languages. In the next 2-3 months we will see this becoming live and will boost to the mission of enabling Indians with the power of language technologies," he added.

Mr Sawhney stated that more than any other domain when it comes to Indian languages the core technology which can help us is artificial intelligence.

Mr Uday Shankar, President, FICCI said that technology has a huge role to play, and NLP (National Language Processing) is a way for computers to understand, analyze and derive meaning from human languages. "The dream of an all-inclusive Digital India cannot be realized without bringing NLP research and application in India at par with that of languages like English," he added.

Mr Virat Bhatia, Chairman, FICCI ICT & Mobile Manufacturing Committee said that the Indian language internet users are expected to grow and will account for nearly 75 percent of India's internet user base.

The future lies in the uplifting of digital initiatives to national public digital platforms, which are simple and bring together existing systems, players and open the doors for innovation and value-added services roping in the public and private ecosystem players, he added.

Mr Ashutosh Gupta, Country Manager, LinkedIn India said, "We are completely supportive of the government's strategic goal to make the internet multilingual and more accessible for different regions and communities - an effort that will go a long way in driving greater digital inclusion across the country. And it is at this exciting inflection point that we are launching Hindi language support on the platform to strengthen our vision to create economic opportunity for every member of the workforce and takedown language barriers for Hindi speakers across the world."

Mr Aman Jain, Head, Government Affairs & Public Policy-India, Google said that our commitment is towards enhancing the access and connectivity, especially in the rural areas.

Dr Ajay Data, Co-Chair, ICT & Mobile Manufacturing Committee, FICCI and CEO and Founder, Data Xgen Technologies said that while it is true that considerable progress has been made in developing digital content in local languages, the real challenge lies in providing a single platform to the vast arrays of stakeholders to come and work together and this is where FICCI-ILIA plays an important role.

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