In a multilingual country like India, where rural population constitutes a majority segment, the growth of IT usage gets restricted due to lack of language computing or the knowledge of it. Hence in order to overcome this hurdle, the Government of Kerela, announced Malayalam computing initiative, whereby it tries to bridge the technology-language divide and helps in its smooth operating by the people.
According to V.S. Achuthanandan, the State Chief Minister of Kerela, this government initiative ‘Our Computer Our Language’ which will help people across the state to operate people in their mother tongue, is aimed at reaching to more than 50 lakh families in the coming three years.
The website will have operating systems like Windows XP and Linux which will have inbuilt facility for this language compatibility and hence will not require any separate software package.
The challenge for the Government however lies in creating an awareness of this facility, which they have aimed in resolving by two ways.
Firstly, the Government has launched a website which would be providing all the valuable informations regarding the usage of Malayalam in computing. Talking about this system, S.B. Biju, Kerala IT Mission State Coordinator explains that: “Once you enable a language in the machine, you can send mails and chat using the language. You need not have to use English. With this initiative we aim to overcome the language barrier, a key obstacle in bridging the digital-divide”.
Secondly, there are around 3000 Akshaya Kendras, information and communication technology (ICT) access points, and schools which the government has decided to use to popularise Malayalam Computing. Here Biju further adds that: “We also plan to enlighten hardware vendors regarding this”.
Continuing on the mission of total e-Literacy, the Kerela government have been so far successful in reaching out to eight districts while the remaining six districts are aimed for completion by December 2008. Moreover with the launch of this new mission, the Kerala Government is positive of the success of its e-Literacy camp.