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Tamil software development fund
Hon'ble Chief Minister released "Ponvizhi", an optical character recogniser ,the first Tamil software funded by Tamil Software Development Fund , on June 18, 2002
  • Works done by ELCOT in respect of Tamil in Information Technology - Transfer to Tamil Virtual University(TVU). G.O Ms No. 16 Dated 16-08-2001.
  • Tamil software Development Fund
Information Technology Department - Follow up action on the announcements made by Hon'ble Chief Minister at TamilNet 99- Setting up of a "Tamil Software Development Fund"- Guidelines approved - Orders issued.

G.O.Ms.No.8 Date:6.5.1999
Read: G.O.Ms.No.5, Information Technology Department dated 5.3.99

During the valedictory Function of "TamilNet 99" on 8.2.99, the Hon'ble Chief Minister had announced the setting up of a "Tamil Software Development Fund" to encourage the Development of Tamil Software. Following this, the Government in the G.O. read above constituted a High Level Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. M. Anandakrishnan, Vice-Chairman, Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education for advising the Government in the matter of the proposed Software Development Fund and other related matters.

A set of draft guidelines for the "Tamil Software Development Fund" had been put together by this Department and sent to this Committee for consideration. The Committee had held its first meeting on 1.4.99 and had approved the guidelines with a few amendments. These amended guidelines had then been recommended to the Government for consideration.

The Government, after careful examination, have decided to approve the Guidelines for the Tamil Software Development Fund along with the amendments. They accordingly, approved the Guidelines for the Tamil Software Development Fund" as annexed to this order.

Chairman and Managing Director, Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited may initiate further necessary action to mobilise funds for the corpus of Tamil Software Development Fund, to constitute the Fund Management Committee and to give due publicity to Tamil Software Development Fund.

This order issues with the concurrence of Finance Department by their U.O. No.1365/FS(P)/99, dated 27.4.99 (By order of the Governor)
There are large number of Software developers in Tamil Nadu, particularly in Chennai, and in several parts of the world including Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Europe and North America who are actively engaged in the development of Tamil Software.

Due to the absence of an existing coding standard for Tamil in IT, both for characters and for glyphs, each such development around the world was following its own standard. This let to a problem of incompatibility between different sets of software.

In order to resolve this issue, the Government of Tamil Nadu had organised an international conference and seminar titled "TamilNet 99" on 7th and 8th February, 1999 at Chennai. Participants and experts from around the world had gathered and come out with consensus standards for both character coding and glyph coding (monolingual and bilingual) for Tamil. These standards have been kept open for international scrutiny and comment at a dedicated internet website at http://www.tamilnet99.org.

As the problem multiplicity of standards has been adequately addressed it has been decided by the Government of Tamil Nadu to set up a dedicated fund for the development of Tamil software.
Tamil Software Development Fund
The Tamil Software Development Fund (TSDF) with corpus of Rs. 5 crores (Rupees five crores) has been established by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Contributions from outside Government including the corporate sector will also be accepted.

The TSDF will be dedicated to supporting the Development and promotion of innovative Tamil software in every aspect of IT including Education, Computer based training, Networking, Multimedia, Data Communication services and Internet.
TSDF Manager
Presently this is being done by Tamil Virtual University
TSDF Objectives
The objective of Tamil Software Development Fund is to provide financial support in the form of grants to catalyse development of new software as well as further development of existing Tamil Software by both the individual developers and developers of the corporate sector.

Funds will be made available only to fund operations within the States of Tamil Nadu, Pondichery and Centrally funded institutions elsewhere in the country, irrespective of the place of incorporation of the individual organisations seeking support.

The Tamil Software Development Fund shall support the following types of development:
  • Innovative software in Tamil which complies strictly with the coding standards finalised by TamilNet 99.
  • Software which addresses non-traditional areas like speech recognition, optical character recognition, natural language processing, lexico graphic applications.
  • Routine applications like text processing, E-mail etc., will not normally be supported.
Quantum of Support
Support to any one proposal would normally range from Rs.50,000/- to Rs. 5 lakhs.
Criteria for Support:
The criteria for support are flexible and will include the following:
  • The commitment and credentials of the Management of the individual team organisation seeking support including technical qualifications and management experience.
  • The viability of the Project in the context of the innovativeness of the proposed product of service, keeping in mind the cost price, technology and potential for widespread use.
  • Assessment of the potential and prospects of the target market for the proposed product or service. The preferred market include multimedia and educational software E-Commerce, Internet based applications.
  • The mode of support will be in the form of grants. The monitoring and phasing of such support will be decided on a case to case basis and decision of the Fund Management Committee will be final
Obligations of Grantee
If the Software product(s) developed with the assistance of grant from TSDF proves to be Commercially successful, the Grantee will have to pay the Fund a royalty based on the value of sales. The amount of royalty will be decided by TSDF on a case to case basis at the time of sanction of grant.

Source: Government of Tamil Nadu G.O. Ms. No. 8 Information Technology (MIE-2) Department dated 6.5.1999.
TSDF has funded six projects so far. Click here for details