India may have internet domain names in 7 local languages by the end of 2011

India plans to have internationalised domain names (IDN) on internet in seven local languages — Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu and Gujarati — by the end of 2011. Once implemented, this would see the present country code ‘.in’ being replaced with ‘.bharat’. IDNs are currently available only in Latin characters, the script in which English and most other European languages are written.

The department of information technology (DIT), government of India, will soon submit its proposal to US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organisation responsible for managing the internet’s domain name system.

According to DIT senior director Govind, at present only 10 per cent of India’s total population knows English and only English speaking population can access the internet. The country has currently 81 million internet users out of which only 8.1 million are broadband customers.

“Considering the population of the country, the number is not satisfactory. Once the domain name is available in regional languages, it will not only help the masses in sharing information but also help in internet proliferation even in remote corners of the country,” Govind has said.

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