The Importance of Indigenous Languages in Good Governance (Rank Princess – SEO)

We all know how important languages become in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and multi-ethnic country like India. They not only help us gain a sense of community but also aid in the smooth functioning of the government.

In fact, a lot of state governments leverage their politics by establishing a connect with the citizens using local languages. As long as it doesn’t border on favoritism, it is true that local languages can enable the government to become more citizen-centric and transparent.

Going multi-lingual digitally

The fact that our country boasts of 22 official languages at the state level underlines our dependency on indigenous languages and our inability to function in a single language.

To that end, availability of online content in Indic languages has also become crucial. With mobile phones and theInternet having become accessible to the lower strata of the society, it is important that they too have a means of communication congruent to their language.

With the government spearheading the way by incorporating local languages in SMS alerts, e-governance mobile applications, and websites, other sectors like e-commerce, banking, and healthcare are slowly following suit in adopting and making Indic languages native in their services.

Language solutions for the masses

In the light of growing internet penetration, from 27% in 2015 to 34.8% in 2016, online businesses have become aware and are trying to cater to the masses instead of only English-speaking consumers. Even tech giants like Google and Microsoft are trying to assimilate local Indian languages in their products and services.

Similarly, a plethora of Indian platforms like are also working towards creating language equality on the internet, so that the government can ensure better dissemination of information among citizens.

Such digital technologies enable language localization of customer-facing internet businesses, e-governance portals, and mobile apps. Their cloud solutions integrate with websites and apps to provide users with content in their preferred language in real-time. They are effectively bridging the language divide in the digital world.

Language directly proportional to governance

In Karnataka, all government offices operate in Kannada, which means all notice boards, paperwork, and RTI replies are in Kannada. This kind of staunch implementation makes it easy for native, non-English speaking, Kannadiga residents to access government offices. They can talk clearly with the officials, use their services accurately, and indulge in constructive grievance-redressal.

Following the example of China

On a global scale, a perfect example of the relation between language and governance is China. Their love for Chinese, the most popular dialect of Mandarin, is so profound and solid that it has not only had a social impact, but also an economic impact. Their huge political standing worldwide relies heavily on their refusal to bend down to the biased global standards of languages.

Out of a total literate user base of 700 million in India, less than a 100 million people know English. This means, to make the entire country digitally inclusive, all online content and services need to be available in at least the 12 most spoken Indian languages apart from English. To put that in perspective, currently the web space comprises of a total of 0.01% of Indian language content as compared to 57% content in English.

In conclusion

To obtain an optimum amount of connection with the citizens, the government—with the help of language solution providers, needs to move beyond English and delve deeper into Indic languages.

Reference links:

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Unity in diversity: An all-inclusive growth strategy (Rank Princess – SEO)

India is changing, and fast. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is a visionary and his attempts to weave together the fabric of technology with governance, and public services are commendable. His Digital India initiative and E-governance projects aim to empower the people to become active partners in the growth process. Access to governance, in his opinion, should be transparent, deliver accountability and provide results and outcomes.

A Digital India

In 2017, the number of smartphone users has reached a staggering figure of 340 million! This number is likely to reach 460 million by 2021. An IAMAI report concluded that the urban population has 60% internet penetration with almost 450 million Internet users as of this June. The rural population has an additional potential of 750 million users which will be utilizedwith time.

The Internet and E-governance

Without a doubt, the Internet and smartphones are going to be the bedrock of PM Modi’s Digital India initiative. These outlets are the primary source of information dissemination and through them, services can and will be provided. Gyandoot project in Madhya Pradesh, project FRIENDS in Kerala, e-Procurement project in Andhra Pradesh and Khajane project in Karnataka are some of the examples of initiatives taken up by the government that rely intensively on the internet and the use of phones and smartphones.

Language, An Obvious Barrier

India is a diverse nation. We have 22 official languages, and 1,652 languages have been identified to be spoken across the nation. The aforementioned initiatives by the government were chosen to convey the diversity of states in which they were launched, to bring forth the importance of local languages as a barrier to the said progress.

The Importance of Multilingual Platforms

Currently, the Internet and governance are primarily done in English, a language that is only spoken by 30% of the population. Sahit Aula, in an article published in Forbes, delineates the barriers that a majority of the Indian population faces due to their lack of fluency in English. Socio-economic impacts of this are devastating. A digital India will only give rise to a divide, and the original aim of e-governance, which is to promote all-inclusive growth will lay to waste. After all, what benefit are accountability and transparency if it isn’t understood by the majority of the population?

The Chinese example

Although in China several dialects are spoken, the official language, which is popularly used, is Mandarin.  This ensures that the benefit of all services by the government is communicated to all its citizens. Important public notices are effectively communicated, and the overall well-being of the population is ensured. The Chinese export-led growth model is an epitome of unprecedented growth.Having a standard language understood by all greatly helped in realizing the benefits and incentives offered by the government.

The Solution for India

Our strength lies in our diversity. It is absurd to imagine an enforced common language in India. The notion is impractical and unrealistic. However, several public and private initiatives are underway to tackle the problem of many languages.

The Technology For Indian Development program has been launched by DIT with the vision of evolving the masses into a knowledge society. Several tools have been developed to facilitate human-machine learning, to consolidate technology for Indian languages and to promote the use of information processing tools for language studies and research.

Even in the private sector, companies like are developing language solutions that allow digital platforms to be available through multilingual processes. Translators and transliteration tools developed by them are actively promoting multilingual governance.

A Promising Future

Initiatives launched by the Indian Prime Minister make our future look bright. India is to experience growth like never before; the world knows this. However, for the benefits of the growth to reach every citizen, a multilingual approach is necessary. Only when all of India understands the message, will it grow. Our greatest strength is our diversity, but only if it is promoted through unity. Language can be a barrier or a tool, let’s use it as a tool.



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