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Dr Ajay Data is the Managing Director of Data Group of Industries and an authority on Information Technology. He has been credited for many ‘firsts’ during his professional journey as an IT entrepreneur, motivator and a techno-social contributor. Recently, Dr. Data acclaimed another laurel when he became the first Indian member to the ccNSO Council of ICANN. Here is an excerpt of our conversation with him.

Q1: Dr Data, you have been appointed as the first Indian member to the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) Council of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) very recently.  Congratulations! What exactly are these two bodies –ICANN and ccNSO?  What shall be your role in the council as its member?

ICANN is an International not-for profit organization that brings together Individuals, Industry, Non-Commercial and Government representatives to discuss, debate and develop policies for secure and stable internet. Primarily ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers which refer to the policies for domain names and IP addresses, which are discussed and formed through multi stake holder model under ICANN.

The Country Code Names Supporting Organisation (ccNSO) is a body within the ICANN structure. This involves policy building and advocacy for ccTLDs. It provides a platform to nurture consensus, technical cooperation and skill building among ccTLDs and facilitates the development of voluntary best practices for ccTLD managers. ccTLD stands for Country Code Top level domain such as .in, .us, .cn etc. Currently there are 168 countries, which are member and part of ccNSO.

The policy development process is managed by the ccNSO Council, which consists of 18 Councillors (15 elected by ccNSO members, three appointed by the ICANN Nominating Committee).  The 2018 Nominating Committee received 109 applications from candidates all over the world (33 women and 76 men), out of which 18 from Africa, 27 from Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, 20 from Europe, 13 from Latin America, Caribbean Islands, 31 from North America participated during its nomination period. I got position in ccNSO through this NomCom process. My tenure starts from Oct 2018 till 2020.

Q2:  India is on a fast track as far as Information Technology (IT) is concerned in a global context. But growth in India’s IT sector is highly skewed region-wise, with southern Indian states dominating the rest.  How, according to you as an authority on IT, has Rajasthan been faring so far?

I think the tide is changing and Rajasthan is not very far from becoming number one state in IT sector. Our Government is actually ahead of all other state governments in IT enabled Government to Citizen Services. More than 200+ services are available on emitra, 500 crore start up fund, Bhamashah Technohub are some of the examples which shows the ground reality of the implementation from which people are getting benefited. Rajasthan is not lacking to keep the pace with latest and futuristic Technologies and we should know that technologies like AI, AR, VR, ML, Robotics, Blockchain are being used and solutions using these technologies are being developed in Rajasthan.  Rajasthan is first state to provide Hindi email address to citizen and more than 2 million people are already benefited.

Q3: Bhamashah Techno Hub recently inaugurated by CM Vasundhara Raje at Jaipur is India’s biggest incubation centre.  What shall be its impact on the future growth of IT sector in the state, looking at dismal progress made so far by start-ups incubated locally?

All citizens of Rajasthan must be proud of this Bhamashah Techno Hub. This is kind of gift to young entrepreneurs by Government sit in world class infrastructure, have high speed internet, 24×7 operation, secured facility with all the latest equipment / software in tinkering lab enables people to try out new ideas. Not only this is truly world class infrastructure but it’s totally FREE for Rajasthan based startups. Already 170 startups are getting benefited. This makes job seekers job givers and thats what we need to be economically strong and reduce unemployment problem.

Q4: The IT world reckons you a pioneer in development of linguistic email software. How has this innovation revolutionized the e-communication field?

75% of the world population do not know English and obviously we need solution for them to allow them to use the power of Internet. People at ICANN started thinking about it around 1996 and started building policy to have domain names in scripts other than English language. In 2010 first time world saw Arabic script top level domains which allowed people to have Arabic email address and in 2014 India adopted linguistic top level domains covering 15 languages. We saw this an opportunity as no email solution was supporting email address on these linguistic domains and started investing into innovation and breaking the barrier so that people can have email address also on these linguistic domains. In 2016 we announced our success to find the formula to enable people to have email address in their own language and launched DATAMAIL app for people to have free linguistic email address. Since then we have enabled countries like Russia, China, UAE, Korea, Thailand, Srilanka and now enabling entire European countries so that they can use special characters in their own languages.

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