NIXI Trouncing the Lingual Disconnect: Dr. Govind

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Dr. Govind, Chief Executive Officer, National Internet Exchange of India

NIXI is implementing. Bharat domain name in a variety of Indian languages, says Dr. Govind, Chief Executive Officer, National Internet Exchange of India, in conversation with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN)

Give us an overview of the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI).

NIXI is a not for profit organisation under section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 and was registered on 19th June, 2003. It was set up for peering of ISPs among themselves for the purpose of routing the domestic Internet traffic within the country, instead of taking it all the way to US or abroad, thereby resulting in better quality of service (reduced latency) and reduced bandwidth charges for ISPs by saving on International bandwidth.

We have already launched . Bharat. Now, we will be focusing on launching . Bharat in other languages. Once it comes into reality, we will do massive campaigning in the villages, so that people know that there are domain names in local languages, too

Subsequently, addition of the sovereign functions viz .IN country code top level domain Registry as well as National Internet Registry (NIR) for allocation of IPv4 & IPv6 addresses were added. These activities have further opened and enhanced the scope of NIXI activities.

NIXI as an Internet Exchange needs to evolve with the larger eco system of the Internet to include content service providers, other value-added service providers, Registrars of .IN Registry and affiliates of NIR to play inclusive role in the growth of Internet in the country.

Digital India campaign has been launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. What is your opinion on it?

It is a great initiative taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which has got various components. One of these is the connectivity part and it is really an important component. At present, there are 235 million broadband subscribers in India. Th e government is aiming to take it to 337 million by 2017 and by 2020 the government has set the target to increase the number to 600 million. Apart from this, broadband connection will be taken to the hinterland, villages up to the level of panchayat in the country. Under Bharat Net, 2, 50,000 panchayats will be covered.

Content is the other part of the Digital India campaign and the focus is on providing content in the local languages as large part of our population is non-English speaking. We have 22 constitutional languages in the country and would like to see that the content is generated in the local languages. This will help citizens in doing various activities in the internet domain in their own languages.


The shift from .IN to .Bharat is helping rural India to connect better

How can NIXI fit in the context of Digital India content and connectivity?

NIXI will play an important role as we will be providing the domain names. At present, we are running the .IN registry for high-end domain and this is in English. We are implementing .Bharat domain names in a variety of Indian languages. We have launched .Bharat in Devanagari script in August 2014, along with various languages like Hindi, Dogri, Konkani, Maithili, Marathi, Nepali and Sindhi. Thereafter, it is available in Bengali, Gujarati, Manipuri, Tamil, Urdu, Punjabi and Telugu languages. Currently, out of 22 languages, we have now domain names in 15 local languages. Efforts are on to cover all 22 languages.

In the present age of social media, what are the plans of NIXI to use social media for better results?

We have already launched .Bharat in English. Now, we will be focusing on launching .Bharat in other languages. Once it comes into reality, we will do massive campaigning in the villages, so that people know that there are domain names in local languages. On the other hand, we are going to leverage social media in a big way, so that we can engage it to see how .Bharat/.in domain names can be used in a better way.

Please elaborate on the new initiatives of NIXI.

The other area of focus for us is to create leadership training programmes for the young leaders in the Internet area. We already have NIXI Fellowship Programme and we train the young minds in the areas of cyber security and Internet governance. We are also focusing on skilling the youth of the country in the field of Internet governance.

Connectivity will be an integral part of the Digital India programme. However, it is a challenge too in terms of connecting India. What is your opinion on that?

The major challenge will be developing applications and reaching out to the last mile. Reaching out to people beyond panchayats will be a challenge. The low cost and affordable devices have to be provided, along with contents to the last mile villagers. All these have to work together, so that the villagers know about the usefulness of Internet as an effective tool for their future generations.

Do you think that mGovernance is the path to follow in future?

mGovernance brings about huge scope and opportunities as 1,000 million people have mobile in their hands in the country at present. The mobile platform is going to play an important role, especially in the villages where computers and devices have not reached. Smartphones will be the future. I was told that even in some smartphones, content is being provided in some local languages. This is indeed important as content is the king.

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