If everything goes well as planned, India will be ready to have internationalised domain names (IDN) on the internet in seven Indian languages — Hindi, Bangla, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu and Gujarati — by next year. The department of information technology (DIT), Government of India will submit its proposal by next month to The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organisation responsible for managing the internet's domain name system, including IP address space assignments based in California, USA.
Domain names are entered in the address bar of the browser to access a web-site. The domain name provides a unique identity and on clicking on a given domain name, the web page of the particular site opens up. Initially the domain name will be available to seven Indian languages and later on to the all the country’s 22 official languages. So, once it comes into effect, the user will be able to not only type out the address of a website in the scripts of any of the country's 22 official languages, but also access sites under the domain name - bharat. It is worth noting that in the past, IDNs were availble only in Latin Characters(the script in which English and most other European languages are written.)
DIT Senior Director, Govind said, "At present only 10 per cent of the total population knows English and only English speaking population can access the net and 81 million internet users are in India. Also, India has only 8.1 million 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. We will submit our application to ICANN by next month and expect to get approval by this year. If everthing goes well, we will roll out domain name in seven Indian languages by next year.”
Over two-three years C-DAC, GIST, Pune in association with DIT and with contributions from C-DAC, Kolkata and Thiruvanathapuram has evolved a policy document for Internationalised Domain Names in Indian Languages.