"There were 30 core internet connections in the country till last year which was more than the United States and next to China. In the use of smartphones, India is next only to the US," the Minister said during question hour.

He said the Telecom Ministry was implementing the Technology Development for Indian Languages (TDIL) programme and its objectives included research and development of language technologies, software tools and applications for Indian languages, proliferation of language technology products and solutions.

Another objective of the programme was to develop standards for linguistic resources, tools and applications for inter-operability.

The Minister said under the TDIL programme, CDs containing software tools and fonts for 22 constitutionally- recognised Indian languages have been made available in public domain through the <http://www.tdil-dc.in> portal.

This has empowered the citizens to use Information and Communication Technology in their own languages. Further, various Indian language tools, technologies, linguistic resources and standards developed under the TDIL programme have been made available, like machine translation, optical character recognition, text to speech, sanskrit tools, monolingual search engines.

Prasad said a number of initiatives to develop tools like language CDs and keyboard drivers for android based mobile devices, technologies like machine translation, optical character recognition, cross lingual information, text to speech, automatic speech recogntion etc. and standards like unicode, web standards, speech standards, corpus standards and natural language processing standards have been taken.

"TDIL is an ongoing research and development programme which caters to emerging language technology needs of the masses and changing Information and Communication Technology environment," he said.