How difficult is it to think in Malayalam and then convey it in English or odd enough, to type Malayalam conversation using the English keyboard? The very thought is so depressing for a large majority of the common public that they look at a computer more in awe and with even more apprehension.

It is to help them enjoy the fruits of the fast growing information technology that the State government is going ahead with its plan to popularise Malayalam computing. The primary objective is to help the common man benefit from various Internet services like e-mail, chat and blog.

The district Akshaya authorities have geared up to launch the campaign for propagating Malayalam computing. This is following a decision taken at a meeting chaired by IT Secretary Ajay Kumar on January 14 to extend the campaign to Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam districts.

A meeting of various government departments as part of adopting Malayalam computing in official communications will be held shortly. The date for the meeting will be fixed by the district planning officer in consultation with the District Collector, who is also the chief coordinator of the Akshaya Project in the district. A meeting for mediapersons as part of the awareness campaign will be held in the first week of March.

The State government aims at taking the campaign to about 40-50 lakh households in over three years through the network of 3000-odd Akshaya centres in the State. Local self- government bodies and other social organisations like village libraries would play an active role in the campaign.

The campaign was given shape based on the realisation that despite the availability of technologies, 90 per cent of the computers in the State were not tuned in to support Malayalam. While Akshaya centres would impart training on how to enable and use Malayalam in computers, the Kerala State IT Mission will develop and provide the materials for this training.

Training for local hardware vendors is also on the anvil to ensure that every computer being sold in the State henceforth supported Malayalam. The training, for which software modules and guidelines are made available through a web portal ( www.malayalam.kerala.gov.in), will be basically on how to enable Malayalam in various popular operating systems.

The project dreams of a day when every panchayat in the State would have a web portal of its own throwing light on its local natural and human resources, economy, industry, agriculture and services, and such other details. To encourage the local bodies the best panchayat portal would be awarded.

M.P. Praveen

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