Internet domain names in Indian Languages
“Language should not be a barrier to anyone who wants to access the Internet for availing of any service or finding useful information or even entertainment. Therefore we have taken this initiative of having domain names in Devanagari script as a first step towards making the multilingual Internet covering all the 22 constitutional languages of the country, says Dr Govind, CEO, National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI)
What are the operations that National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) is currently managing in India?
The NIXI is the neutral meeting point of the ISPs in India. Its main purpose is to facilitate exchange of domestic Internet traffic between the peering ISP members. This enables more efficient use of international bandwidth, saving foreign exchange. It also improves the quality of services for the customers of member ISPs, by avoiding multiple international hops and thus reducing latency. Also, the government of India has authorised NIXI to operate and manage .IN Registry, since January 2005. Now .IN domain names are available to anyone on first-come- first-served basis. The Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers (IRINN), a division of NIXI, provides allocation and registration services of IP addresses and AS numbers, and con- tributes to the community by providing Internet-related information as a non-profit, affiliation-based organisation.
As you just said, the Government of India has authorised NIXI as the .IN registry, so what steps is NIXI taking to ensure the safety of .IN registry?
IN domain is one of the world? most protected top level domains (TLD). Access to .IN domains is performed via a highly redundant, global, Anycast DNS network, which protects against massive distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks. The IN registry is secured behind a 5 layer security ring with all critical components fully redundant hardware software and service provision including a completely functional and tested disaster recovery facility. The .IN registry is also one of the few TLDs in the world to have deployed the domain name system security extensions (DNSSEC) technology which guarantees protection to users who click on a web site. DNSSEC ensure that they cannot be hijacked maliciously. This is in fact the first TLD in South Asia to deploy such a high level of cryptographic technology for security at the domain level. IN registry is also constantly monitored for threats and active measures are taken to mitigate abuse in coordination with CERT IN. In addition to this, there are additional scans and audits performed to ensure there are no known vulnerabilities.
NIXI has recently launched the Dot Bharat domain. What are the main advantages of this initiative?
The National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) have collaborated to launch Dot Bharat domain in Devanagari script on 27th August 2014. Currently this covers eight languages Hindi, Dogri, Maithili, Bodo, Marathi, Konkani, Nepali and Sindhi. Subsequently Dot Bharat was launched in Bangla, Manipuri and Gujarati scripts on 25th of December,2015-Good Governance Day We will soon be launching Dot Bharat in Urdu, Tamil and Telugu languages, this will be followed by other Indian languages like Malayalam, Kannada, Odiya, Assamese, Kashmiri, etc. The Dot Bharat initiative was taken up for our non-English speaking people. Currently one can find content in various languages online, but the URLs or web addresses are in English. With this rollout, people can now type the URL in local languages. This will help people in the villages and remote places to access the Internet in local languages. It will help bridge the digital divide by encouraging generation of local content. Language should not be a barrier to anyone who wants to access the Internet for availing of any service or finding useful information or even entertainment. Hence we have taken this initiative of having domain names in Devanagari script in many Indian languages.
Are there any specific steps being taken to ensure that the content of the websites also become available in local languages?
It is understood that just having the URLs in local languages is not enough, the real benefit to the people will come only when the content also becomes available in local languages. In order to ensure that this happens NIXI, along with the Ministry of Communications & IT, has initiated a dialogue with the popular websites like IRCTC, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Yatra, Amazon and many others. We are working with C-DAC, which is the premier government organisation working for the development of several tools and technologies for dealing with different aspects of languages. The technologies that C-DAC has developed can be used to generate vernacular language content on Indian websites. We are keen to ensure that the content becomes available in local languages on these popular websites. And I am optimistic that in near future the citizens who do not know English will also be able to get their work done by accessing content available in local languages on the Internet.
Is the INRegistry also responsible for the Dot Bharat domain?
In India, the INRegistry is responsible for registering IDN (Internationalised Domain Names) in Indian Languages. IDNs are domain names represented in local language characters. Such domain names could contain letters or characters from non-ASCII scripts. Dot Bharat is an example of an IDN. The development of IDN is important because a very small proportion of the Indian population is English literate. The proliferation of IDN will definitely lead to increase in the penetration of the Internet through the use of local languages and help penetrate local content.
What kind of response is the Dot Bharat domain receiving from the people?
We are having very good response. More than 5000 domain names in Hindi have already been booked. I am hopeful that we will also see lot of interest in local language domain names.