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Tamil Font Encoding and Keyboard Layout standards
of the Tamilnadu Government

Adoption of TamilNet99 Tamil Computing Standards

Based on the recommendations of TamilNet 99, the Government of Tamil Nadu released a Government Order, adopting the Tamil Keyboard Standard and Glyph Encoding System in a function held on 13th June 1999.

The Chief Minister, the Education Minister, Mr. Murasolimaran, Chairman of Reception Committee of TamilNet 99 and several ministers, officials and dignitaries were present. Many delegates representing Tamil print & software industry were also present on this occassion.


Information Technology - Standardisationof Tamil Key Board and Encoding of Tamil
Glyphs - Recommendations of the Sub-Committee on Tamil in Information Technology -
Accepted - Orders - Issued.

G.O.Ms.No.17 - dated: 13 June 1999

1. G.O.Ms.No.3, Information Technology Department, dated 19.2.99. 2. From the Vice-Chairman, Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education and Chairman, Sub-Committee on Tamil in Information Technology, Letter dated 1.6.99.


In the Government Order first read above, a working Group and an International Technical Committee were constituted to evaluate the technical issues and finalise coding standards for Tamil, based on the consensus arrived at during the International Conference and Seminar on Tamil in Information Technology (Tamilnet99) held at Chennai on 7th and 8th February 1999. To facilitate this process, the TamilNet 99 recommendations were made available on a dedicated internet website www.tamilnet99.org from mid-February 1999.

2. Considerable feedback was received from researchers, software developers and enthusiasts throughout the world and these were first analysed by the Working Group and later by the members of the International Technical Committee. Based on the final suggestions of the International Technical Committee, the Sub-Committee on Tamil in Information Technology of the State Information Technology Task Force has proposed monolingual and bilingual encoding schemes for Tamil glyphs and a standard Tamil Keyboard layout. The Chairman of this Sub-Committee has recommended these to the Government for approval.

3. The Government, after careful consideration, approve the schemes of encoding Tamil glyphs as well as the layout for Tamil Keyboard submitted by the Chairman of Sub-Committee on Tamil in Information Technology as detailed below:

(a) Tamil Keyboard

(i) The approved layout for keyboard is at Annexure - I and it may be named as "Tamil99 Keyboard" in English and "Tamil99 visaippalagai" in Tamil :

(ii) The key sequence for the "Tamil99" keyboard is at Annexure - II

(iii) The present layout and sequencing of mechanical typewriter (Remington) keyboard is to be maintained excepting the replacement of the sign " " with the sign "[ha]"so as to make the letter "[ha]" available for typing and to ensure an easy transition to the existing users; and,

(iv) No standard needs to be recommended now for the Romanised keyboard.

(b) Glyph Coding Schemes:

(i) The Monolingual Glyph coding schemes for Tamil is at Annexure - III. This will be useful for meeting the needs of software development for the desktop publishing and printing industry. The fonts based on this scheme will have TAM" prefixed to the font names, since "TA" is an internationally accepted abbreviation for Tamil in the Information Technology industry and "M" denotes monolingual;

(ii) The Bilingual Glyph coding scheme for Tamil is at Annexure - IV. This will be useful for meeting the needs of software development for simple applications like text-processing, e-mail etc. The fonts based on this scheme will have "TAB" prefixed to the font names, "TA" being the abbreviation for Tamil and "B" denoting bilingual; and

(iii) Tamil Software developers can provide Tamil Numerals as symbol fonts.

4. Character Coding Standard: In order to facilitate the submission of a revised character coding standard for Tamil to "UNICODE", the Government of Tamil Nadu have become an Associate Member in the Unicode Consortium, USA. On finalisation of the proposal for revising the character coding standard by the Sub_Committee on Tamil in Information Technology, further action will be taken by the Information Technology Department for sending this proposal to 'UNICODE' for adoption.

5. Tamil Keyboard manufacturers and Tamil Software developers are expected to use the specifications in para 3 above in their products. Future purchases of Tamil Keyboards and Tamil Software by Government Departments/ Undertakings/Corporations/Boards etc., while subject to codal formalities, will be made only from manufacturers who certify that their products conform to these specifications.

(By Order of the Governor)

Secretary to Government

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