Best time to develop local apps, says MeitY Secretary

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 09, 2020

Ajay Sawhney, Chairperson, Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management KR DEEPAK K_R_DEEPAK   -  KR Deepak

The government on Thursday asked the mobile manufacturers to work towards local apps and software so that the country doesn't have to depend on foreign mediums and noted that this is the best time to do so.

Speaking at a webinar organised by India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said that it's time that equal amount of attention is paid to what goes inside these smartphones in terms of software and apps, operating system and most essential apps that one turns into day-in and day out.

"It is time for us to start looking at smartphone -- not just the electronic part of what goes into a smartphone but the brains that go into the smartphone -- software, functionality and the app ecosystem that goes into the smartphone," he said.

Sawhney said that the Indian smartphone industry had reached a situation once again where it has a robust platform, and it is making an effort to grow the numbers, reduce price points, propel it in every home/ pocket in India.

"It's time to start looking at what else goes along with that smartphone and let's make sure that it is the finest that we can have globally, and a lot of it should have Indian DNA along with it," he said.

The MeitY Secretary's statements come a few days after the government banned 59 popular Chinese apps including TikTok, UC Browser, Mi Community, Cam Scanner and Shareit.

Sawhney further said that smartphone makers now on, should make more efforts to bring in components players into India. Not making an effort to bring in such technology would mean that they are missing many opportunities.

"It's an amazing opportunity that we have today, of a massive and growing market of huge appetite for anything digital, better and better smartphones and the apps, and other things that help us abstract the best out of the smartphones," he added.

Meanwhile, ICEA along with KPMG released a report titled - “Contribution of Smartphones to Digital Governance in India” -- capturing various steps and initiatives taken by the government to encourage and leverage the rising popularity of smartphones for digital governance.

And, some of the key insights from the report include -- India is the fastest growing app market in the world and number one in app downloads as of 2019. Essential services such as education, healthcare, finance, utilities, justice and transport have become more accessible to the general public through mobile applications.

The report also said that the growth in Internet users in India is expected to be driven by rural users, many of whom will use these devices in local languages.

Smartphones have also been vital to the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, enabling the government to reach citizens across the country through apps like Aarogya Setu, which has more than 13 crore downloads and is available in 12 Indian languages, it added.

Published on July 09, 2020

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