Microsoft “Bhasha” to bridge digital divide

By : |September 29, 2003 0

NEW DELHI: To gain a stronger foothold in the government segment and reach the grassroot level, Microsoft India has announced the Project Bhasha. It also announced 14 vernacular language interfaces of Windows and Office availability from this year-end.

The Project Bhasha is aimed at accelerating the local language computing in India. Under this project, Microsoft will focus its efforts on four key areas–product localization, government collaboration, building a local IT system and create a community that can bridge the digital divide.

Microsoft MD Rajiv Kaul said, “Project Bhasha defines our vision to create an all pervasive IT ecosystem, which is in the local language.”

Microsoft is also in the midst of talks with the central government for the adoption of Unicode as a common development standard for local language applications as well as facilitating the varied Indian community. It also plans to launch five centers of excellence to help grow this project, though it has not yet decided where and when.

As a part of this project, it will also build a knowledge portal to help the vernacular knowledge pool. Microsoft CTO Craig Mundie, who was in India for the occasion, said, “It is a personal commitment of Bill Gates to be a part of development in India and this is one of those steps.”

Commenting about the investments in this project, Kaul said that the time and efforts for this projects cannot be given a number and other activities will be a part of the $ 400 million investment that was promised by Gates in his visit to India.

NASSCOM President Kiran Karnik was also present on the occasion and said that it is nice to see that a company is adhering to its commitments and is trying to infuse some life in the local language software market.


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