Home / Politics / Policy /  Regional languages on mobiles get govt push

New Delhi: In what may prove to be a big push to the government’s Digital India programme, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on Monday came out with requirements for mobile handset for typing of text in English, Hindi and at least one additional Indian official language along with facility of message readability in the phones for all 22 Indian official languages.

The standard is set to use the strength of mobile penetration in the country for transmitting the text message to citizens, particularly during disasters, the BIS said in a statement.

“SMS messages and alerts have also become a very powerful medium of conveying information regarding weather and prices to farmers, and in other e-governance applications, such as education, health and welfare, as part of Digital India," the BIS statement said.

The move will help Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative, which aims to provide services ranging from cooking gas subsidy to banking services through use of text messages on phones.

The guidelines have been formed in consultation with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). While details of the guidelines are yet to be made public, the proposed specifications require all mobiles to have minimum of 4MB of memory, of which 2MB will be reserved for Indian language support, Mint reported on 12 February.

These specifications are applicable to all mobile devices—feature phones as well as smartphones, they do not impact smartphone devices much since they have ample memory and both Android and Apple mobile operating systems support most of the commonly-used Indic scripts, languages and also have separate keyboards for them.

The move will have a “huge impact" on the mobile traffic and also provide financial benefits to the telecom companies, an official from the lobby group Indian Cellular Association said.

“Currently, very few handset makers offer the ability to read text message in all the official Indian languages, with Lava launching the feature recently in its phone," this executive said requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak with the media.

Lava International Ltd in February launched its Iris 465 smartphone that can support 21 Indian languages.

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