The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has approved the guidelines issued by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which will mandate manufacturers to provide for display of text in 22 Indian languages on the devices from July 1, 2017.
The approval came through after stakeholder meetings that were held with the industry in July, August and September. During these discussions, the Indian Cellular Association had requested that the new standards could be mandated along with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notification that compels device makers to include global positioning system (GPS) from January 1, 2018.
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“Industry requested that they would require a lead time of at least nine months as they would have to incorporate changes in their global supply chain,” a senior government official said.
“Industry also requested that existing models of mobile phones may be exempted or else timelines of 18 months be allowed to phase out the existing models of phones,” the official said, adding that this plea of the industry was not agreed to as the standard could not be implemented on selective models of phones.
Government’s think-tank Niti Aayog also reviewed the proposal recently, and “advised MeitY to revisit the action”, as it could result in increase of the costs of these devices to consumers. The government official said that there was “no denying that there will be a 10 per cent increase in cost to the consumer in respect of feature phones”.
Justifying the ministry’s move to go ahead with the proposal despite opposition from several stakeholders, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad told The Indian Express that the government was “keen to introduce Indian languages in mobile phones as it will help in spreading of digital literacy and also accelerate the process of making India a truly empowered society”.