In an event organized in Delhi, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) discussed the evolution of the Domain Name System (DNS) and its potential implications for India.
ICANN is currently overseeing one of the biggest changes ever in the history of the Internet with its New Generic Top-level Domain (gTLD) Program. This is driving the largest expansion of the DNS, promoting choice, competition and innovation for the benefit of consumers and businesses.
ICANN is also enhancing the usability of the Internet through the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). IDNs will enable the global community to use a domain name and access content in their native language or script.
According to a report released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and market research firm IMRB International, the number of Internet users in India is estimated to grow to 462 million by June 2016. This makes India the second largest global Internet user market, surpassing U.S.
“The DNS’ expansion will help provide for the growing Internet community in our region. This is especially relevant for India, where Internet penetration grew from 19 percent to 35 percent in just two years,” said Jia-Rong Low, vice president and managing director of ICANN’s Asia Pacific hub.
“In a time when everyone and everything is going digital, a website and domain name are essentials for every business, including people. We are seeing the Internet evolve as more people coming online can do so in their own languages.”
Commenting on the importance of IDNs in India and globally, Professor Udaya Narayana Singh, chair of the Neo-Brahmi Generation Panel said, “IDNs will help to pave the way for a truly multilingual and accessible Internet. In India, where we have 22 constitutional languages, IDNs will open up opportunities for the non-English speaking Indian communities to come online. The formation of the Neo-Brahmi Generation Panel is the first step towards a multilingual Internet for India.”
In addition to the constitutional languages, there are 122 bigger languages with over 1576 mother-tongues, most of which are written in 13 different scripts, with 53 more minor writing systems.
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), joint secretary, Rajiv Bansal, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) was also present as a guest speaker.
He said, “The Indian government is very supportive of these initiatives. The Internet has become a powerful, ubiquitous and empowering medium. It has the potential to help us grow economically as well as change the way we interact from education to healthcare to service delivery. Almost all applications of the Internet are carried out through domain names and the ability to access them in local languages will further spearhead our development.”
“ICANN’s work requires participation from all communities. We are encouraged by the support and involvement from the Indian community to-date but want to broaden the base of engagement. We will continue to work with constituencies within India to raise awareness, as well as capacity building, to draw them in, so that the interests of the Indian stakeholders are not lost,” commented Samiran Gupta, head of India, ICANN.