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All phones sold in India to have Indian language support feature

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New Delhi: In a bid to realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ vision, promote Indian languages and bring E-Governance within easy reach of every citizen, the government is soon likely to make it mandatory for all mobile handsets being manufactured or sold in India to come loaded with multi-language support feature.

Department of Electronics & IT (DeitY) is likely to take the step in this regard which would have a momentous impact on the speed of governance, a press release issued by Indian Cellular Association (ICA) claimed.

The ICA press release added that the move would have an overwhelming impact on the speed of governance and the way utilities and services such as education, health, permissions, licenses etc. accessed by citizens as only about 10 percent of Indians are supposedly conversant and comfortable in transacting in English language. Absence of multi-language support feature has been a major stumbling block in unleashing the full power of mobile handset and Digital India vision to utilize the power of mobile handsets as the “device of choice” for implementation for various E-Governance schemes.

“I am very happy that our persistent efforts are going to bear fruits very soon. Provision of multi-language support in every mobile will catalyze Digital India program, make life of citizens convenient as accessibility to critical services and utilities will become extremely fast and transparent. In short, this is real empowerment of Citizens and I am happy that mobiles will become the new symbol of this new age empowerment,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, the president of ICA, the apex body of the mobile industry comprising manufacturers, brand owners, application & solution providers, distributors, retailers and eminent consumers of mobile handsets.

The ICA added that the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has been instructed to formally come out with an Indian Standard that could be used for implementation of the same. The final standard will be published soon after consultations with the Industry and other stakeholders as per the process followed at BIS.

The mandatory salient features of all future handsets will be following: a minimum 4MB of memory out of which 2MB would be reserved for official Indian Languages support; message readability for all 14 scripts and 22 official Indian languages; and texting would be available in English, Hindi and at least one additional Indian Language.

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

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The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)