The Centre has launched ‘Sandes,’ an instant messaging platform, and it is available on Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on July 30.
The app is an Indian alternative to Facebook-owned WhatsApp and can be used for all kinds of communication by anyone with a mobile number or email ID. Sandes is currently being used by government employees and agencies linked to the government.
The government -- after its clashes with WhatsApp over end-to-end encryption and the new IT Rules -- decided to aggressively pursue and launch homemade apps and software to develop an ecosystem of Indian made products.
"Sandes is an open source based, secure, cloud-enabled platform. It is hosted by the government and on government infrastructure ensuring the control remains with the Government only. With features like one-to-one and group messaging, file and media sharing, audio-video call and e-gov application integration etc. It is available at Google Play Store and the App Store," Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in response to a query regarding Sandes.
Though Sandes was developed and launched recently, the idea was conceived during the first tenure of the NDA government. The government decided to fast-track the project during the pandemic.
The National Informatics Centre (NIC), the information technology wing of the government, which was entrusted with the task, released its first version in August 2020.
After that, the NIC worked on the Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS), an open source, cloud-enabled, end to end encrypted platform hosted on the government-owned India Data Centre.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)