The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) is developing a “secure” video conferencing platform, which can be used by government officials, judiciary and public.
The move by C-DoT is aimed to reduce India’s dependence on overseas platforms like Zoom, Microsoft and Google to carry out the day-to-day business operations through video conferencing. It will also incorporate all features offered by the video conferencing giant.
According to an Economic Times report, the platform is “almost ready” for deployment. A source, close to the matter, also highlighted that to prevent any sort of cyber-snooping, the platform will be hosted on the government of India server for the use of government and judiciary. For public use, the video conferencing platform would launch a separate version.
The platform will also have a “waiting room” feature, where people wanting to join the online meeting will be in line before they are approved by the moderator. The solution is in the lines with other indigenous solutions offered by the Indian government — contact trace app Aarogya Setu and instant messaging app Government Instant Messaging Service (GIMS).
A senior official told ET that the government is looking to offer two versions of the GIMS app, of which one will be used by the public and the other by senior officials to conduct high-level government communications. The government is developing such solutions to keep its information protected from cyberattacks and other digital threats.
The government decided to launch GIMS, which is developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), in the wake of data breach issues related to social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
Meanwhile, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has also called video conferencing app Zoom as an unsafe platform and released an advisory on the dos and don’ts. The Cyber Coordination Centre, a body under the MHA, asked users to choose new user IDs and set new passwords for each meeting.
In order to find more solutions, the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) has invited 10 Indian startups to develop indigenous video conferencing solutions under the Digital India initiative to enable smooth remote operations as well as teleconferencing between agencies and state governments.
Each startup will be provided with INR 5 Lakh to develop the prototype of the product and an additional INR 20 Lakhs to develop the final product once shortlisted.The winning solutions would be deployed for the use of the central government and its departments, along with the state government entities for a period of four years. In total, the IT Ministry has set aside INR 2.3 Cr for the same.
According to the ET report, the government received almost 2K applications, but looking at the urgency of the situation, the C-DoT went ahead to develop their own solutions.