28 Mar 2023

NIXI Event on Universal Acceptance: Stress On Multilingual Internet To Bridge Digital Divide In India

New Delhi: Calling India the right place for Universal Acceptance Day celebrations, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Bhuvnesh Kumar said that providing a multilingual internet user interface was crucial to bridge digital divide in the country. 

He was speaking at the curtain raiser of the 2-day event on Universal Acceptance Day, organised by National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), a non-for-profit company, under the aegis of the MeitY.

Being celebrated globally, this inaugural Universal Acceptance (UA) Day is aimed at driving efforts for inclusive and multilingual internet.

Being organised on 27th and 28th March, the event is aimed at driving collaborative efforts for inclusive and multilingual internet. The unique initiative was lauded by Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar as well.

India has largest numbers of Internet non-users due to language barriers 

Elaborating on the importance of Universal Acceptance, Bhuvnesh Kumar said, “India is home to many languages. We have been successful in providing domain names in 22 official languages and this is a huge achievement. The country has the most internet users. But it must be noted that language barriers also make it a base of the largest numbers of non-users who do not speak English.”

‘We must create emails and websites in native languages’

Bhuvesh Kumar said it is very important that we not just provide internet services but also create emails and websites in native languages. Providing a multilingual internet user interface is crucial for bridging the current digital divide. Through Universal Acceptance, we can connect with non-internet users and promote digital inclusion across the country and the world, Kumar added.

India chosen as flag bearer this year to promote Universal Acceptance for digital inclusion

Notably, India which is fast-turning into a digital economy, has been chosen as the flag bearer this year to promote and promulgate Universal Acceptance for digital inclusion. The event is a first-of-its-kind effort to initiate thought-provoking, meaningful and result-oriented dialogues to raise awareness, break the language barriers and make the internet accessible to a larger population and bring every citizen in the ambit of economic progress.

The first day of the event witnessed the presence of dignitaries and thought-leaders who shared their views with students, developers, researchers, content creators, participants and other guests.

What Universal Acceptance means 

Universal Acceptance means building a technical environment to allow computing devices, operating systems, browsers, social media or e-commerce to accept instructions in local language other than English and ensure valid domain names and email addresses, regardless of script, language or character length. 

It is important for India to widen cover of digital inclusion

India has set a target of becoming a USD 1 trillion digital economy soon and it is important for the country to widen the cover of digital inclusion with UA. Achieving it can ensure every Indian has the ability to experience the full social and economic power of the internet by choosing domain name and email address in any language that best aligns with their interests, business, culture, language, and script.

It is reported that more than 50 countries are participating in celebrating 1st Global UA day. 

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