TAMIL DIGITAL RENAISSANCE
for Information Technology in Tamil
Constitution, General Council, Executive Committee & Working
The Tamil Inaiyam 2000
Conference in Singapore, was the occasion for the inauguration of the International
Forum for Information Technology in Tamil (INFITT), the first global organisation
dedicated to the development and promotion of Tamil Internet and Tamil Computing. The
Constitution of INFITT was approved at a special meeting convened
for the purpose on 23 July 2000. The
duly constituted first
General Council elected the first Executive Committee
on 24 July 2000.
The conference also discussed and agreed upon the
formation of five INFITT Working Groups to examine in detail the following key issues on
Tamil Computing: Glossary of technical terms for Tamil (WG1), Unicode Tamil Segment (WG2),
Tamil Domain Names for Internet (WG3), Glyph Encoding Standards (WG4) and Standards for
Transliteration format of romanised Tamil (WG5).
Tamil is an ancient language but it will remain an ancient
unless it takes advantage of Information Technology. Information, as technology, got its
start in the United States in the early 1950's. The language of choice was English.
Handling of Tamil text materials in computers, in Tamil script form, became possible in
the mid-eighties through the advent of a handful of Tamil fonts and text editors. Free
fonts, for use in all three of the commonly used computer platforms (Windows, Mac and
Unix), and the emergence of the World Wide Web, as a powerful medium for information
exchange, started from the mid-nineties. It enabled the widespread exchange of Tamil
digital materials worldwide through Internet-based communication tools (Email, Web). Tamil
Information Technology efforts expanded phenomenally and became firmly established amongst
Tamils worldwide thereby introducing a phase transition in the Tamil, and through it,
International Conference devoted to Tamil Computing-TamilNet 97- organized at the National
University of Singapore, in June 97, laid the foundations for bringing together,
annually, key players in the field of Tamil Information Technology. The primary issues for
attention were delineated and the urgent need for standardization of basic elements, such
as font encoding and associated keyboards, was recognized. The second International Conference-Tamilnet 99- was
organized in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India in February 1999. It brought together
representatives of Tamil speaking peoples and took a landmark step in recommending
official glyph encoding and keyboard layout standards. The third International Conference - Tamil Inaiyam
2000 - was held in Singapore during 22-24 July 2000.
As a follow up to Tamilnet 99, National Steering
Committees have been formed in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka and Singapore and several regional
committees being established, to promote Tamil Information Technology in the respective
countries and regions. Substantial amounts of monetary and human resources have been made
available to develop standards and software in key areas of Tamil Information Technology.
There is an urgent need to coordinate the efforts of
various national and regional initiatives, through an International Forum for Information
Technology in Tamil (hereinafter referred to as INFITT), consisting of regional and
national representations, concerned institutions and individuals.
Many Asian languages already have such International
Steering Committees. An example is the Asia-Pacific Networking Group (AP-NG? devoted to
Chinese. In addition to China, there are regional representatives from North America,
Europe, country and individual representatives from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan etc. The
chairmanship is rotated and all decisions are collectively made. Another type of
association is the Unicode Consortium, a voluntary grouping of representatives of major
hardware and software industry that coordinates and leads world-wide efforts on the
emerging Unicode standard. INFITT is an international body created to meet the felt needs
of the Tamil Information Technology community.
The Tamil speaking people around the world, presently of
about 80 million, strongly feel that the preservation and development of their culture and
language critically depends on their ability to come to terms and taking advantage of
evolving Information Technology. The International Forum for Information Technology in
Tamil ( INFITT ) is founded for the purpose of coordinating Tamil Information Technology
efforts worldwide, furthering the growth of on-line Tamil content globally, and
facilitating the development of new Information Technologies for the advancement of Tamil
culture, language, education and skill development, especially through global information
The INFITT will provide a forum and a mechanism for
coordinating such activities through conferences, workshops, symposia, meetings, working
groups, commissioned research and studies and other means, legal and appropriate.
Article 2 Status
1. The INFITT is established with the support of
governmental and non-governmental organizations, agencies and institutions, the private
sector, foundations, research and education institutions, industry and concerned
individuals all focused on the promotion and development of Tamil culture and language
through Information Technology.
2. The INFITT shall operate as a non-profit
non-governmental autonomous organization, international in status, and non-political in
management, staffing and operations. The INFITT shall be organized for coordination,
research, development and education.
3. INFITT does not have a regulatory or enforcement role.
Its primary functions are advisorial, promotional,
facilitative and liaison with bodies and individuals concerned with the promotion of Tamil
4. The collective decisions of the INFITT shall be in the
form of recommendations to multinational agencies, nations, states, economies,
organizations, institutions and individuals.
Article 3 Aims
1. The mandate of the INFITT is to promote Tamil culture
and language through Information Technology, computing, Tamil Internet, Tamil electronic
content by the coordination of their regional, national, international and individual
efforts and resources worldwide.
2. The aims and key objectives of INFITT are,
1. To organize and coordinate the efforts of its own
policy and technical groups, various regional and national steering groups, independent
groups (including Internet-based organizations) industry and individuals and, within a
global framework, facilitate, dialogue and promote cooperation and collaboration among
various groups and individuals;
2. To identify key application areas for development of
Tamil Information Technology, to define broad guidelines for their implementation and to
provide technical assistance wherever possible;
3. To develop norms and standards for Tamil computing,
including text and data handling, across different platforms, and the development of
"open source-application programming interfaces (OS-API);
4. To promote education and the dissemination of Tamil
Information Technology knowledge regarding Tamil computing;
5. To organize "Tamil Internet" ("Tamil
Inaiyam") conferences regularly (preferably annually) in different parts of the world
in cooperation with concerned national organizations.
6. To provide a mechanism for the Tamil Information
Technology community to be represented collectively at international, regional and
national Information Technology and networking organizations and their conferences or
meetings, and to act as a liaison body and a voice for Tamil Information Technology in
1. The INFITT shall serve as an international catalyst,
forum and resource devoted to developing competence and expertise in Tamil Information
2. The INFITT will complement its activities with those of
other international and national societies, associations and institutions, industry and
individuals, that have similar aims. Its activities will, wherever appropriate, be planned
and implemented in collaboration with such societies, associations, institutions and
3. The INFITT will promote the standing of Tamil
Information Technology in the global arena through liaison and cooperation with other
1. In fulfilling the aforementioned aims and functions, in
the spirit of the guiding principles, the lNFITT shall engage in a range of activities
- holding meetings and arranging lectures, training courses,
workshops seminars, symposia and conferences;
- commissioning the publishing and dissemination of books,
periodicals, reports and research and working papers through print and electronic on-line
and other media;
- establishing and maintaining contact with individuals and
institutions with expertise in relevant fields through collaborative research, seminars,
exchange visits, sabbatical attachments and likewise;
- commissioning studies and other projects on behalf of or in
collaboration with other organizations and institutions;
- maintaining offices, information resources (including
websites, databases, archives) and other facilities as may be necessary for its proper
- assist in development of international standards and norms
in formats recognized by the lnformation Technology industry, such as Internet Drafts (ID)
and Requests for Comments (RFC), in all key areas of Tamil Information Technology;
- and taking such other actions as may INFITT further and
fulfill the aims and objectives of the
2. The INFITTs activities, programs and plans shall be
reviewed periodically, taking into account the changing needs of developing and developed
economies and the INFITT's capacities in meeting these needs.
6 INFITT and its Organs
1. The INFITT is a corporate body, consisting of a General
Body of members, having a common scale.
2. It can sue and be sued
3. The organs of INFITT are i) The General Body, ii) the
General Council, and iii) An Executive Committee including a Secretariat
7 Members of General Body
1. Members of General Body may consist of
- 1. A state;
- 2. A regional body;
- 3. A national body;
- 4. Non-governmental organizations, agencies, institutions,
the private sector, research and education institutions or industry;
- 5. Individuals. 2. Anyone who subscribes to the Aims of
INFITT and abides by its rules and regulations can become a member of General Body.
3. General Council of INFITT shall periodically fix the membership
fee of members in each of these categories. Continuation of membership would require
prompt payment of membership fee.
4. No partisan group including a state, economy, country,
non-governmental organization, agency, institution, company, industry, or organization
shall have majority representation in the General Body.
5. Conduct of members. Members shall perform all duties
for the INFITT as well as conduct their own professional activities in an ethical and
professional manner. The INFITT may recommend disciplinary action for conduct of any
member inconsistent with the purposes of the INFITT.
6. Resignation. Any member may resign at any time. Such
resignation shall be made in writing and shall take effect at the time specified therein,
or, if no time is specified, at the time of receipt by the Chairman or Secretary.
7. Removal. Any member can be removed by the Executive
Committee subject to approval by the General Council.
8. Each member shall have voting rights as per one.
8 INFITT General Council
1.1 The membership of the General Council shall consist of
51 members constituted by geographical, institutional and individual representation.
1.2 The geographical representation will be as follows:
- India- 16
- Sri Lanka - 06
- North America - 08
- Malaysia - 04
- Singapore - 03
- Europe - 05
- Australasia - 01
- Middle East & Africa - 02
1.3 The number of Institutional Members and
Members-at-large in the General Council will be 6 and they will be elected by the General
1.4 Wherever there is a national or a regional steering
committee, its nomination to the General Council shall be limited to 50% of that
1.5 The rest of the geographical representatives will be
elected by their respective geographical members of the General Body.
1.6 The duration of membership to the General Council
shall be limited to two years
1.7 The General Council will elect the executive committee
from its membership
1.8 The General Council will review and accord its
approval wherever necessary the decisions of the executive committee.
2. The General Council may appoint sub or ad-hoc
committees or working groups composed of appropriate technical experts to address specific
topics of Tamil Information Technology as it may deem necessary for the performance of its
functions. These committees/working groups will function under the direction of the
3. The General Council will work largely as an Internet
working group, except when it meets in annual "Tamil Internet" conferences, or
through a mailing list (a closed list open only to members).
4. The Members of the General Council shall meet at least
once a year in person, preferably during the "Tamil Internet" Conference. At
this Meeting, amongst other things, the General Council shall elect or renew the
office-bearers of the Executive Committee in accordance with the rules laid down in
1.1 The Executive Committee shall consist of 9 members,
the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Secretary, the immediate Past Chairman and three other
Member all being members of the General Council.
1.2 The Executive Director of the Secretariat shall serve
as the Secretary of the Executive Committee.
1.3 Except for the Past Chairman and the Secretary all
other offices and members of the Executive Committee will be elected by the General
Council from amongst its members.
2.1 The members of the Executive Committee will hold
office for two years.
2.2 The Chair and Vice-Chair shall hold office for one
year. In general, the Vice-Chair is Chair-elect and succeeds to the Chair the following
2.3 The election of the Chair and Vice-Chair may be by
direct ballot or through rotation.
2.4 Tamil Nadu shall have a permanent position in the
3. Executive Committee Members, upon assumption of their
post, shall serve in their personal capacity and are not considered, nor do they act, as
official representatives of their source states, countries, economies, institution,
community or organization.
4. To this end, the Executive Committee shall:
- 1. define objectives and approve plans to meet INFITT aims
and monitor the achievement of these aims;
- 2. formulate policies to be followed by the Secretary in
pursuing the specified objectives;
- 3. ensure INFITT's cost-effectiveness, financial integrity,
- 4. approve INFITT's program and budget;
- 5. appoint an external auditor and approve an annual audit
- 6. approve INFITT's broad organizational framework and that
of the Secretariat;
- 7. approve the INFITTs fund raising and resource
mobilization strategies, policies and programs, and promote such fund raising and resource
- 8. perform all acts which may be considered necessary,
suitable and proper for the attainment of any or all of the aims of the INFITT as set
forth in the articles herein. In special cases or routine matters, Executive Committee may
meet informally via teleconferencing or on-line asynchronous means, and take decisions.
- 9. The Chairman of the Executive Committee shall preside
over a meeting of the General Council.
1. The Executive Director shall head the Secretariat and
shall report to the Chairman of the Executive Committee and through him to the Executive
2. The Executive Director shall be responsible to the
Executive Committee for coordinating the operation and management of the INFITT and for
ensuring that its programs and objectives are properly developed and carried out. The
Secretary shall work closely with the financial committees of the INFITT to coordinate
fund raising and resource mobilization activities.
3. The Executive Director shall implement the policies
determined by the Executive Committee.
4. The Executive Director shall be the legal
representative of the INFITT.
Article 11 Capacity
1. The INFITT shall have the following capacity:
- 1. to receive, acquire or otherwise lawfully obtain from
any governmental authority or from any corporation, company, association, person, firm,
foundation, other entity or individual, whether international, regional or national, such
charters, licenses, rights, concessions or similar assistance - financial or otherwise -
as are conducive to and necessary for the attainment of the aims of the INFITT without
compromising its neutrality and non-partisan, non-governmental and non-profit role in
Tamil Information Technology worldwide.
- 2. to receive, acquire or otherwise lawfully obtain from
any governmental authority or from any corporation, company, association, person, firm,
foundation or other entity, whether international, regional or national, by donation,
grant, exchange, device, bequest, purchase or lease, either absolutely or in trust,
contributions consisting of such properties, real, personal, or mixed including funds and
valuable effects or items as may be useful or necessary to pursue the aims and activities
of the INFITT and to hold, operate, administer, use, invest, sell, convoy or dispose of
the said properties in accordance to the principles laid down elsewhere in this document;
- 3. to enter into agreements and contracts;
- 4. to employ persons according to its own regulations;
- 5. to institute, and defend in, local proceedings; and
- 6. to perform all acts and functions as may be found
necessary, expedient, suitable or proper for the furtherance, accomplishment or attainment
of any and/or all of the purposes and activities herein stated, or which shall appear, at
any time, as conducive to or necessary and useful for the aims and activities of the
1. The budget of the INFITT shall be funded by signatories
of the Establishment Agreement for INFITT, international, regional and national
organizations, public and private institutions and individuals which wish to make
financial and other voluntary contributions to it. The INFITT may receive contributions
from other sources. It may also receive contributions and gifts toward the establishment
of an endowment program.
2. The financial operation of the INFITT shall be governed
by financial regulations to be developed by the Secretariat and approved by the Executive
2.1 The budget for the INFITT will be approved, annually,
by the Executive Committee.
2.2 The budget shall consist of two components: a
"core" budget covering activities and resource requirements which are central
and critical to the operational effectiveness and sustainability of INFITT, and a
"special " budget which is fully supported by voluntary funds and contributions
from donors who support specific initiatives and activities of the INFITT.
2.3 Special initiatives may include named programs,
activities or grants provided by donors.
3. The "core" budget shall be supported
primarily by fees collected from individuals, institutions and from obligatory
contributions provided by signatory economies which shall be calculated in direct
proportion to total GDP of each economy/state/country, except that such contribution from
any one economy shall be capped at no more than 25% of the core budget.
4. An annual audit of the operations of the INFITT shall
be conducted by an independent international accounting firm or by the appointment of
Honorary Auditors appointed by the INFITT on the recommendations of the Secretary. The
results of such audits shall be made available by the Secretary to the Executive
Committee. The audit report with the comments of the Executive Committee shall be
circulated to all members of the INFITT.
1. The deliberations of INFITT shall be conducted in a
totally transparent manner.
2.1. The INFITT and its subordinate entities shall operate
to the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner consistent with
procedures designed to ensure fairness.
2.2. The INFITT shall maintain one or more World Wide Web
3. INFITT shall constantly search for additional
transparency policies and transparency procedures designed to provide information about,
and enhance the ability of interested persons to provide inputs to the INFITT and
subordinate entities. Any such additional transparency policies and procedures shall be
widely publicized by the INFITT in draft form, both within the INFITT membership and on a
publicly-accessible Internet World Wide Web site maintained by the INFITT. Any such
additional transparency policies and procedures may be adopted only after a process for
receiving and evaluating comments and suggestions has been established by the INFITT
Executive Committee, and after due consideration of any comments or suggestions received
by the INFITT.
Article 14 Relationships with Other Organizations
1. In order to achieve its objectives in the most
efficient way, the INFITT may enter into agreements for cooperation with relevant
national, regional or international organizations, foundations and agencies, both public
and private, and with individuals.
1. This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds
majority of all voting Members of the General Body, provided notice of such a proposed
amendment together with its full text shall have been mailed to all members at least eight
weeks in advance of the ballot.
2. The Quorum required for constitutional amendments shall
be 50% of the General Body membership.
3. Voting may be carried out by electronic means or as
designated according to procedures instituted by the Executive Committee.
1. The INFITT may be dissolved by a three-fourths majority
of all voting Members, if it is determined that the purposes of the INFITT have been
achieved to a satisfactory degree or if it is determined that the INFITT can or will no
longer be able to function effectively.
2. The Quorum required for dissolution of INFITT shall be
50% of the General Body membership.
3. In the case of dissolution, any land, physical plant
and other assets situated in participating economies, and made available to the INFITT,
and permanent fixed capital improvements thereon shall revert to their legal owner. The
other assets of the INFITT shall be transferred for use for similar purposes or
distributed to institutions having purposes similar to those of the INFITT in the
3.1. The decision of the Executive Committee, in all these
matters, will be final.
17 Transitional Arrangements
1 The participants at the "Tamil Internet conference,
convened to approve the Establishment Agreement, shall elect a pro-tem chairman .
2 The INFITT shall come into being with the approval of
the constitution by the participants at a special meeting held during the Tamil
Internet2000 conference in Singapore.
3. The first General Council shall be constituted in
consultation with the participants of that meeting.
4. The first Executive Committee will be established by
the first General Council.
5. The first Executive Committee will decide on the
location of the Secretariat and the appointment of Executive Director.
6. Within one year, the first General Council will take
necessary steps to establish the General Body.
Members of the General
Council (GC) for the period 2000-2001
- Prof. M. Anandakrishnan, Chennai
- Prof. V.C. Kulandaisamy, Chennai
- Prof. M. Ponnavaiko, Chennai
- Mr. D. Prakash, Chennai
- Mr. S. Senthil Nathan, Chennai
- Mr. T.N.C. Venkat Rangan, Chennai
- Mr. Anto Peter, Chennai
- Mr. A. Elangovan, Chennai
- Mr. P. Chellappan, Chennai
- Mr. S. Rangarajan (Sujatha), Chennai
- Mr. A.J. Balasubramanian, Chennai
- Mr. S. Sourirajan, Chennai (*)
- Prof. P. Kuppuswamy, Pondicherry (*)
- Mr. N. Anbarasan, Bangalore
- Dr. A.G. Ramakrishnan, Bangalore
- Dr. V. Gnanasundaram, Bangalore (*)
SRI LANKA (6)
- Dr. S. Sivathasan
- Mr. M. Somasundaram
- Prof. M.S. Mookiah
- Prof. S. Sandrasegaram (*)
- Mr. T. Kumaradasan (*)
- Mr. S. Nilakshan
- Mr. Arun Mahizhnan
- Dr. Tan Tin Wee
- Mr. S. Maniam
- Mr. Muthu Nedumaran, Kuala Lampur
- Mr. K. Kuppuswamy, Kuala Lampur (*)
- Mr. Ravindran Paul, Kuala Lampur
- Mr. Sivagurunathan Chinniah
NORTH AMERICA (8)
- Dr. Kumar Mallikarjunan, Blacksburg, VA, USA
- Mr. Mani Manivannan, Fremont, CA, USA
- Dr. Vasu Renganathan, Philadelphia, PA, USA
- Mr. D. Sivaraj, Pittsburg, PA, USA (*)
- Prof. George Hart, Berkeley, CA, USA (*)
- Dr. Naga Ganesan, Houston, TX, USA (*)
- to be named
- to be named
- Dr. K. Kalyanasundaram, Lausanne, Switzerland
- Dr. N. Kannan, Kiel, Germany
- Dr. Siva Pillai, London, UK
- Mr. Nadesan Satyendra, London, UK
- Mr. Chinnadurai Srinivas, London, UK (*)
- Mr. V. Vasudevan, Sydney, Australia (*)
MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA (2)
MEMBERS AT LARGE (6)
- Mr. A. Palaniappan, Singapore
- Dr. S. Elango, Auckland, New Zealand (*)
- to be named
- to be named
- to be named
- to be named
* those with asterisk did not attend the Tamil Internet
2000 conference, but whose membership to GC were approved during TI2000 meet.
Members of the Executive
Committee (EC) for 2000-2001
- Prof. M. Anandakrishnan, Tamilnadu, India (Chair)
- Mr. Muthu Nedumaran, Kuala Lampur, Malaysia (Vice-Chair)
- Mr. Arun Mahizhnan, Singapore (Secretary)
(also Executive Director for the INFITT Secretariat)
- Dr. K. Kalyanasundaram, Lausanne, Switzerland (Member)
- Mr. Mani Manivannan, Fremont, California, USA (Member)
- Mr. D. Prakash, Secretary, Dept of IT, Govt. of Tamilnadu
- Dr. S. Sivathasan, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Member)
- Mr. V. Vasudevan, Sydney, Australia (Member)
- Dr. Tan Tin Wee, Singapore (Member)
INFITT Working Group I (WG1):
Standardization of a Glossary of Technical Terms in Tamil
Mr. Mani Manivannan, (Fremont, CA, USA) (Chair)
Prof. Chandrabose (Chennai, India)
Prof. Radha Chellappan (Trichi, India)
Dr. Na Kannan (Kiel, Germany)
Prof. Re. Karthikesu (Malaysia)
Dr. Rm. Krishnan (Chennai, India)
Prof. V. C. Kulandaisamy (Chennai, India)
Mr. A. Palaniappan (Singapore)
Mr. Anto Peter (Chennai, India)
Mr. M. Sivalingam (Chennai, India)
Dr. S. Sivadasan (Colombo, Sri Lanka)
Dr. S. Srinivasan (Kalpakkam, India)
INFITT Working Group 2
(WG2): Unicode Tamil Segment
Mr. Muthu Nedumaran (Kuala Lampur, Malaysia) (Chair)
Mr. Manoj Annadurai (Chennai, India)
Mr. P. Chellappan (Chennai, India)
Mr. Kalaimani (Singapore)
Mr. Mani Manivannan (Fremont, Ca, USA)
Prof.M. Ponnavaiko (Chennai, India)
Mr. D. Sivaraj (Pittsburg, USA)
Mr. T.N.C. Venkatarengan (Chennai, India)
INFITT Working Group 3
(WG3): Internet Names in Tamil for Domains (DNS) and others
Mr. S. Maniam (Singapore) (Co-Chair)
Mr. V. Vasudevan (Sydney, Australia) (Co-Chair)
Prof. Chandra Bose (Chennai, India)
Mr. P. Chellapan (Chennai, India)
Dr. Kumar Mallikakumarjunan (Blacksburg, VA, USA)
Mr. Muthu Nedumaran (Malaysia)
Mr. A. Palaniappan (Singapore)
Prof. M. Ponnavaiko (Chennai, India)
Dr. Vasu Renganathan (Philadelphia, USA)
Mr. Nadesan Satyendra (London, UK)
INFITT Working Group 4
(WG4): Font (Glyph) Encoding Standards
Prof. M. Anandakrishnan (Chennai, India) (Chair)
Mr. N. Anbarasan (Bangalore, India)
Mr. C. Ananthan (Chennai, India)
Dr. M. N. Cooper (Chennai, India)
Mr. Duraipandi (Dindigul, India)
Mr. A. Elangovan (Chennai, India)
Dr. V. Krishnamoorthy (Chennai, India)
Dr. P. (Kumar) Mallikarjunan, Blacksburg, VA, USA
Mr. Ravindran Paul - Malaysia
Mr. Sinnathurai Srivas - London, UK
INFITT Working Group 5
(WG5): Standardization of transliteration format for Tamil
Dr. K. Kalyanasundaram (Lausanne, Switzerland) (Chair)
Dr. Vasu Renganathan (Philadelphia, USA)
Dr. S. Srinivasan (Kalpakkam, India)
Mr. R. M. Suresh (Tirunelveli, India)