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Govt to offer free .bharat domain with a .in domain

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The Indian Government will provide a free “.bharat” domain name for one year when a user buys a “.in” domain, reports CIOL. This is mainly to push for Indic language adoption and making an ecosystem for communication in Indian scripts. The report adds that the “.bharat” domain, available in both Devanagari and other scripts, is being sold only by some companies registered with National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI).

English speakers low in the country

Earlier last week, the Indian government said that it wanted email service providers to provide users with addresses in Indian languages, starting with Hindi. It added that ‘sufficient local language content and tools’ were needed 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, who said this at a meeting he called with unnamed attendees.

ICANN added Indic top level domains

In April this year, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved four additional proposed Indic top level domain names (TLDs), in Malayalam, Kannada, Assamese and Oriya languages. The TLDs were yet to be delegated to NIXI (National Internet exchange of India). While Malayalam, Kannada and Oriya will use their own scripts, Assamese TLDs will use the Bengali script.

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In August 2014, NIXI started taking registrations for “.bharat” domain names in Devanagari script. Although recommended for Hindi, the common script made the domain available in eight Indian languages other than Hindi, including Marathi, Boro, Dogri, Maithili, Konkani, Nepali and Sindhi-Devanagari. Along with “.bharat”, the domain names “.company.bharat”, “.vidya.bharat” and “.sarkar.bharat” were also made available for registration in Devanagari.

Seven years in the making: Back in October 2009, C-DAC had announced that domain names in Indic languages would be debuting soon. The announcement had come after ICANN declared that exclusive use of Latin characters for web addresses would be brought to an end. At the time, ICANN launched a Fast Track Process for countries and territories to request their respective IDN ccTLDs, through which the Indic language TLDs were approved.

Wikipedia in Indic languages: Earlier today, Wikipedia launched in Tulu, making it the 23rd Indian language Wiki. The Tulu wiki has been in ‘incubation’ since 2008, still waiting to go live or active. It was reactivated in 2014. As of now, Tulu Wiki has about 200 registered editors, of which it claims 100 have more than 10 edits, with 8-10 active editors online on an average.

Also read: Multiple key factors preventing Indic Wikipedia growth – Subhashish Panigrahi

Our Indic language coverage.

Image Credit: Amrith Raj under CC BY SA 3.0

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Written By

I'm a MediaNama alumna from 2015-16 (remember TinyOwl?) now back to cover e-services like food and grocery delivery, app based transport and policies, platforms and media in India.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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