Less than a week after it banned 59 applications with Chinese links, the Centre on Saturday launched a challenge inviting Indian developers to come up with apps in a range of segments such as office productivity, social networking, e-learning, news, games, health and wellness, agri-tech, fin-tech and entertainment, and speech translation, among others.
“Today there is immense enthusiasm among the tech & start-up community to create world class Made in India Apps. To facilitate their ideas and products @GoI_MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) and @AIMtoInnovate (Niti Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission) are launching the Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet Saturday.
As part of the Digital India AatmaNirbhar Bharat Innovate Challenge, the Central government has identified sub-categories for developers to build apps. These include a mobile-based microblogging application on the lines of Twitter and the Chinese Weibo (which was among the 59 banned apps); a mobile-based news application that uses cutting-edge technology to recommend the most relevant and interesting news to each user, something on the lines of banned Chinese apps Newsdog and UCNews; an application to optimise the performance of mobile devices by cleaning junk/cache files etc. the way Chinese apps Clean Master, Cache Cleaner and DU App Studio worked.
Other categories include a mobile application for “harnessing the most accurate facial and/or body mapping technology to allow for a true-to-life virtual try out of products like spectacles, clothes, etc.”; a “mobile application for real-time speech-to-speech translation and camera translation of multiple languages”; “an automated web-based application that handles business-to-business lead generation and cold emailing and is completely manageable from a mobile device itself”.
“This Innovation Challenge with various cash awards and incentives… seeks to create an ecosystem where Indian entrepreneurs and startups are incentivised to ideate, incubate, build, nurture and sustain tech solutions that can serve not only citizens within India but also the world,” the IT Ministry said in a statement.
The scheme to identify Indian apps comes days after IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stressed on the need to reduce the dependence on foreign apps. In a virtual press conference to mark five years of Digital India, Prasad had said that India’s dependence on “foreign apps which have all agenda for a variety of reasons must stop… it is a great opportunity for goods and apps made by Indians”.
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