Sources in the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology (MeITY) have confirmed to media that two such apps are being tested in their beta stage. They have been codenamed ‘Samvad’ and ‘Sandes’, literally “conversation” and “message”, respectively.
“These apps are being developed completely by the government of India. It is going to be an instant messaging app like WhatsApp,” said a MeITY functionary.
As per sources the government also has plans for an app called GIMS, Government Instant Messaging Service, meant only for government of India employees to communicate.
“A need was being felt within the government for a very long time to have our own, independent, and self-owned instant messaging service. Development of these apps began way before the present WhatsApp controversy,” said the source.
The biggest advantage of this app will be that “we will never have to worry about data being stolen and used for commercial gains by big tech”.
However, its acceptance among people can be evaluated only after a public roll-out.
The app, which is under its beta testing, is soon to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself once the trial is over. It is still not confirmed if ‘Samvad’ and ‘Sandes’ both will be launched or either one of them will be available for use.
‘Sandes’, which is available on Apple store for a few people to test, only authorises and verifies government employees for now. It has a blue-and-white interface with the Ashok Chakra as its logo.
“It may entirely be possible that one of these apps shall remain for the internal consumption of government employees and not be rolled out for the public,” the source revealed.