Vernacular Push: Govt. Wants Email Providers To Support Regional Email Addresses
Govt. of India has planned to spend Rs 1.5 lakh crore to connect 2.5 lakh villages with high speed broadband. But at a time when only 10% of Indians know English, how can this massive exercise to connect rural India with Internet work?
Out of 10% English speaking Indians, only 2% reside in rural areas. Rest everyone depends on their vernacular language for all living their lives. However, as of now, email addresses can only be created in English language.
Understanding this massive divide between English and non-English speaking population, Indian Govt. is now asking all major email service providers to offer email addresses in regional languages. And to start with, Govt. has requested tech giants to start offering Hindi email addresses, and then gradually expand into other local languages.
As per reports coming in, Govt. had conducted a close-door meeting between officials from Google (who provide Gmail email addresses), Microsoft (providers of Outlook) and Rediff (providers of Rediff mail) and requested them to enable such a system.
Rajiv Bansal, joint secretary in the ministry of electronics and IT said, “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 utilize it when it reaches them,”
In May this year, Govt. had launched BharatVani, which is India’s first & biggest multilingual dictionary.
Email Providers Respond Positively
Microsoft has assured that they are already working in this direction. An official said, “The current versions of Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge and MS Outlook 2016 all support Indian language including in Hindi (eg. domain names such as and internationalized email addresses)”
Meanwhile Google said they have been supporting Chinese and non-Latin characters such as Devanagri since 2014. However, they may soon start offering email addresses in regional languages as well.
Google’s Chaparro Monferrer said, “In the future, we want to make it possible for you to use them to create Gmail accounts,”
We must credit to Google for providing support to Hindi on their Android phones since 2013. Last year, Google had reported that they are witnessing huge increase in consumption of Hindi content as this niche is growing at a rate of 95%.
But Is Govt. Setting An Example Themselves?
A section of the industry is also asking whether Govt. is keen on setting an example themselves? To start with, they can create regional languages email address, and then use it for giving an example to others.
Venki Nishtala, who is the Chief Technology Officer of Rediff, minced no words, when he said, “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?”
Rediff CEO Ajit Balakrishnan also asked the Govt. to bring down the cost of Internet access in India as he said, , “Email addresses in local languages is one of those nice things to have, but the government should first bring down the cost of access to around Rs 50 for the Internet to truly reach the masses..”
Last week, we had reported that Govt. of India wants all smartphone makers to embed Aadhaar Card chips in every handset they create. In April, Govt. convinced smartphone makers to include a dedicated panic button in every phone.