The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched a new innovation challenge to build India's own video teleconferencing application. The government has already opened the challenge and will be accepting applications for the same till 30 April.
The statement from MeitY claims, “It is getting evident that in the coming days businesses are going to become more reliant than ever on the digital platforms to connect and communicate. In many cases switching to digital alternatives will be the deciding factor in whether we are able to make it through the tough times ahead or not."
The challenge is divided into three stages Ideation, Prototype and Solution Building. In the first stage the government will shortlist 10 applicants. These applicants will then get ₹5 lakh to take their project to the next stage.
In stage 2, the government will shortlist the best teams to build a prototype of the application. Top 3 teams will be shortlisted for the final stage. The qualified teams will get ₹20 lakh each to take the project to the final stage.
In the final stage the government will choose a winner and pay a sum of ₹1 crore to the winning team. The winners will also get a certificate from the MeitY. The winning team will have to support the application on a budget of ₹10 lakhs per year towards Operations & Maintenance, for a period of 3 years after the first year of deployment. The details about the terms and conditions about the app can be found on the ministry's official page.
The new move comes amidst a greater demand for a reliable teleconferencing application. Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs cautioned Indian citizens against using Zoom teleconferencing application. The app rose to prominence after an almost global lockdown due to the coronavirus. After offices were shut and employees were forced to work from home, the app provided a platform to communicate. However, the app was riddled with security issues. Some of which have been fixed but the company earned a bad name for itself after top tech companies like Google and SpaceX asked their employees to stay away from the application.