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New Delhi, October 28, 2016: The Centre has decided to support for Indian languages in all the mobile phones that will be sold in the country from July 1, 2017. The Ministry of Electronics and IT has mandated a standard that is required by the phone companies to support a third (regional) language along with the usual English and Hindi.

According to PTI report, this step of the government has been opposed by the Indian Cellular Association. The new standard will meet the objectives of Digital India.


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“Although there is expected to be an increase of 10% in the cost of the phone and there would be certain challenges in developing requisite testing facilities, it is suggested that we may mandate the standard with effect from July 1, 2017, as proposed,” said an official to PTI.

The mention of the support required to input text in any one of the Indian languages in mobile phones by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in August had already sent a wave of tension among the phone manufacturers.

In opposition, the companies have argued that though this movement is well intentioned but it is difficult to implement it especially when it comes to feature phones because the companies decide the logistics and inventory are planned and decided on a global level and will have to be specially customized for India- in fact for each state with regard to the new standard.

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As per the given rough estimate- there are approximately 1 billion mobile phone connections in the country, out of them around 70% are feature phones and the remaining are the Smartphones.

“It was felt that vernacular language support will help further penetration of mobile phones in rural areas, where the people may be more literate in their vernacular languages than English,“ said the official to PTI.

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NITI Aayog has advised the ministry to rethink their decision because there are several challenges with the new standard which have been noted by the ministry which will increase the cost of the phone for the citizens. For instance, the RAM capacity of the phone will have to be heightened and several design changes also will have to be done to support the third language.

– prepared by Chesta Ahuja, NewsGram. Twitter: @ahuja_chesta


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