By July 1st 2017, all handsets being manufactured, stored, sold and distributed in India will have to support the inputting of text in English, Hindi and at least one more official Indian language (of 22), and support reading of text in all these languages, as per an order passed a couple of days ago by the central government.

In the order, passed on October 24th, the government has included Indian language support standard “16350 : 2016 Enhanced inscript keyboard layout” for mobile phone specifications to “the Schedule of Electronics and Information Technology Goods (Requirement for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2012“. The order prohibits “manufacture, storage, sale and distribution of Goods which do not conform to the specific standards, and allows an “appropriate authority” or the person authorized by it to view secure compliance with the order. This allows inspection and search of premises, and seizure of goods.

The standard specifies the character code-sets for representing Indian Languages and their scripts on digital medium. The standard covers code charts, characters and character names for 11 Indian scripts which cover all 22 official languages of India which are identical to ISO/IEC 10646 (Universal Coded Character Set).

Apparently, the standard also gives versions of the Inscript keyboard layouts, but we haven’t been able to find any. If you know, please leave a comment.

MediaNama’s views on this move and its implications are detailed here.