Sandes, an instant messaging platform and an alternative to WhatsApp, has been launched in India. The center announced Friday that the domestic messaging app will be available on both Android and iOS platforms.
Sandes instant messaging app has been launched to deal with WhatsApp
According to CNBC TV18 Minister of State for Reports, Electronics and IT Rajiv Chandrasekhar mentioned the app in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on July 30. Like WhatsApp, users can use the ‘Sandes’ app by entering a valid mobile number and an email ID. At the moment, the app is only being used by government officials and their affiliates.
“Sandes is an open source-based, secure, cloud-enabled platform. It is run by the government and by the government infrastructure so that control is with the government only. It is available in Google Play Store and App Store, with features like one-to-one and group messaging, file and media sharing, audio-video calls and e-Gove application integration. CNBC TV18.
According to the outlet, the government took up the idea of a homeground instant messaging app in its first term. NIC (National Informatics Center), the IT arm behind the development of this app, released the first version of Sandes on August 20th. However, the government planned to look at the project at a faster pace during the epidemic, according to the report.
Significantly, the move follows WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption and new IT regulations. The government has reportedly decided to launch ‘homemade apps and software to create ecosystems of Indian-made products’ after clashes with social media networks.
Currently, the Sandes app is integrated with NIC Email, DG Locker and e-Office. As described in the Google Play Store, the app supports end-to-end encrypted messaging, encrypted backups, and encrypted OTP services. The Privacy and Data Policy is governed by GoI (Government of India) rules and regulations. The App Store mentions that for verification, employees of government agencies need to contact the nodal officer of their ministry / department. Although the app is strictly intended for government employees (perhaps to protect confidential information), it remains to be seen when the government will release the app to the general public.
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