We believe that the English path to Hindi computers will limit its accessibility to the Indian masses’

–Dev Swaroop,
Joint Secretary, Department of Official Language, Home Ministry, Government of India.

On the forefront of
multi-lingual spread is the Department of Official Language (DOL), under the aegis of Dev
Swaroop, Joint Secretary. Swaroop, in a chat with DATAQUEST, outlined the initiatives
taken by his department in the area of multi-lingual computing.

What is the DOL’s approach
toward technology-enabled spread of Hindi? And can you elucidate the progress on that
front?

We are committed toward the spread of Rajbhasha and other Indian languages in the computer
field. We believe that the English path to Hindi computing will limit its accessibility to
the Indian masses, and unless corrected, will make the computer bypass the large Indian
segment which will be literate in Hindi and other Indian languages but illiterate in
English.

How is DoL achieving the spread
of multilingual computing (MLC)?

As the old cliche goes, we begin at home. We achieved 100 percent computerization in our
department and all the official work is being done on computers and in Rajbhasha.
Moreover, we are actively disseminating information about our activities through NICnet.
The site contains the Official Language Service (OLS) list, information on various DOL
publications, targets to banks for advancing Hindi etc. Moreover, media like films on
computers, advertising in the form of posters, calenders and feelers are also being
effectively used to drive home our point.

How is DoL ensuring the spread
of MLC in other government departments?

To begin with, in the annual confidential report (ACR) of the officers belonging to the
OLS, we have incorporated an entry regarding awareness of modern electronic equipments and
details about the inclination/knowledge of the officer regarding electronic facilities.
Other measures include that any computer bought/leased by any government department should
have bilingual facility else it will face problems with the audit by the CAG’s office.
Moreover, our technical cell has already trained their personnel and subordinate
department officers from the Center Translation Board, Center Hindi Translation Institute
in the use of MLC software. This has resulted in carrying out jobs like compilation of
data, certification and others in Hindi. We have also been flooded with requests by other
government departments in terms of training and development and we had to increase their
training programs from four to 16 annually.

What role does DoL envisage for
the private sector in MLC initiatives?

Private players are very important in our scheme of things. We provide them a platform via
exhibitions and conferences to the small software developers to showcase their
capabilities on the multi-lingual front. Through these platforms, we hope to bring the
software developers, private or otherwise, to channelize their energies to help the
standardization of Indian language for computers.

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