Centre for Internet & Society

Jaipur based Enterprise email provider Data Xgen Technologies has launched a paid email service in Hindi Devnagari script. This is especially for .bharat domain names, but can also be used for other domains. As of now, the company offers email packages starting at Rs 99, Rs 499, Rs 999 and Rs 1,499, which look like monthly plans.

The blog post by Sneha Johari was published in Medianama on August 29, 2016.

Ajay Data, the company’s founder and CEO told MediaNama that it plans to launch an app for sending free email in Indic language, starting with Hindi. Data said that he was hopeful about Hindi email adoption given the vast majority of the population in India was rural and did not understand English. “People get left out of communication streams because they do not understand English. But they can still get onto the internet and communicate with all of us. Mobile companies are also selling phones in Indian languages, marketing as Hindi phones.. And this is the right time (for Indic email) since the segment is being created,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Indian government told email service providers to provide users with addresses in Indian languages, starting with Hindi. It also wanted ‘sufficient local language content and tools to access it’ in order to increase internet penetration and push higher rural adoption. This was needed because English speakers and readers in the country were low (10.35%), according to Rajiv Bansal, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Electronics and IT.

Wikipedia Indic efforts

About 3 weeks ago, Wikipedia launched in Tulu, the 23rd Indian language Wiki. In September 2013, the Goa University had entered into a 3 year MoU with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) for building the Konkani Wikipedia, which was launched 6 months later. In August 2014, former Bihar CM Nitish Kumar launched the ‘Bihar on Wikipedia’ campaign inviting people of the state to write about their villages, towns, culture, history, development over the years, etc. Note that in 2012, Wikipedia editors were digitizing Indian language, out-of-copyright texts online, trying to address the comparative paucity of Indic language texts online.

As of June 2016, Wikipedia had 16 million page views per month on the Hindi wiki, with overall 106,844 articles. This is not a significant increase. According to this August 2011 report, there were 0.1 million Hindi articles on the platform, and 9 million overall views.

Indian mobile handsets need to support Hindi: BIS

In June, the Bureau of Indian Standards reportedly said that mobile handsets in India would need to support typing in Hindi and English, and reading in all 22 official Indian languages. We’d pointed out at the time that this was essential for growth of access to the internet for handsets in order to access content in users’ local languages.