3rd January 2015
Hon’ble Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers
Government of India
& Member of Loksabha, Bengaluru South
Subject: Appeal to release Kannada OCR (Optical Character Recognition) developed by MILE LAB, IISc, Bengaluru to the usage of general public as a open software tool.
Kannada OCR, developed by MILE LAB, Bengaluru is primarily developed for the visually challenged. Many such users have opined that the tool is definitely a boon for them. The same tool is applicable to all the OCR related tasks in Kannada. Though it is specifically developed for the visually challenged, we request you to kindly make it available for the general public.
The other reason for this is that Government of Karnataka through Department of Kannada and Culture has called for a tender worth Rs. 50 lakhs, to develop a similar OCR. As you are aware, spending this huge amount again on a similar tool which in turn is already developed out of the same public fund amounts to wasteful expenditure. We have already strongly protested this move by Government of Karnataka and a meeting on this issue is scheduled in the month of January, 2015 in Bengaluru. We have firmly submitted to the Government of Karnataka, that any such software development should be discussed with the community and can be done only when there is no technology available.
We also bring to your notice that Government of India has long back made it a philosophy to release all such language tools free of cost to the general public.
The details regarding the tender by GoK and our opposition to it is enclosed herewith. It is worth noting that Dr. L. Hanumanthaiah, Chairperson of Kannada Development Authority and Dr. K V Narayana, Chairperson of Kuvempu Bhasha Bharati Pradhikara have supported our concerns and opposition to the tender. The Kannada technology community is ready to take the IISc developed tool and make further development, if needed. Mitramaadhyama has already networked such technically expert professionals and will offer its voluntary particiaption to the fullest extent.
We hope. you as a MP who has always stood for Karnataka and Kannada when issues matter, will definitely urge Shri Ravishankar Prasad, Hon’ble Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Government of India and arrange releasing of Kannada OCR, an important IT tool to the general public.
Ramanath GP Maiya
1) GoK Tender
2) Our protest letter
3) Details about the MILE LAB project and contact details thereof.
4) Letter by Dr K V Narayana supporting our opposition to the Tender
5) Press Statement by Dr. L Hanumanthaih opposing the Tender.