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BANNING CHINESE APPS: OPPORTUNITY FOR SELF-RELIANCE FOR INDIA

by Prof. Karisiddappa and Team
Vice Chancellor, Visvesvaraya Technological University,
Belagavi, Karnataka

India is today one of the world’s largest markets for digital internet technologies and world’s largest software and internet application companies are present in the country. While operating in India, those companies have to abide by our rules and regulations issued by relevant ministries and departments, including those pertaining to data security and privacy of individual data. However, some of them are engaged in the activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity and defense of the country. We have also seen the misuse of some of the mobile apps available, for stealing and transmitting users’ data in unauthorized manner. Compilation of such data and its mining may lead to a threat in terms of national security and defense of India.

During these difficult times of Covid-19 and the Chinese shenanigans on the border, the Union Government has initiated a bold move in banning the Chinese Apps with effect from June 29 2020. In recent times these Chinese Apps have found deep roots in India. Starting from the purchase of groceries (Big Basket App) and taking food (Zomato and Swiggy Apps) to booking tickets (Make my Trip App), a majority of Indian citizens depend on the Apps which are either developed by China or the Apps in which China has major shares of investments. It is clear that Indian population is highly dependent on Chinese Apps.

The Chinese businesses have invested in areas that touch the daily lives of Indian consumers, such as food delivery and ride-hailing apps, e-commerce platforms and digital payments. Now, following a border clash in which several soldiers were killed, calls have been growing in India to boycott everything which is Chinese.

This call has reached a global level, and other nations are also calling out to ban globally the apps like TikTok, saying it is a malware from the Chinese government that is spying on millions of its users.

According to China’s cyber security law, all companies “must accept supervision from the government”. Its privacy policy, last updated in February 2020, allows the company to take large amounts of data of Indians including metadata pertaining to location, mobile carrier, browsing history and share it with law enforcement, including China. This is war by other means, a Cyber War. In this cyber dark war, wherein unlike Galwan incursion, India’s sovereignty is questioned on daily basis.

In India, to chat we use WhatsApp, an American App; to make video calls we use Zoom, an American company owned by a Chinese-origin American; even to block the 59 Chinese apps, the Indian government was reliant on Google and Apple to take these apps off Play Store and App Store respectively. Had there not been the tacit support of the US government in this action, scarcely would the ban have been so effective so quickly. Hence, the development of mobile apps which are useful, transparent, robust and secure, is need of the hour. These Indian apps will help not only in their applications but also in the economic growth of our country. Though some Indian made Apps are available, they are not available across the spectrum, and when available, they lack features and stability. For banned Apps, some of the alternatives are presented in the following table:

Some  of Banned Chinese APPs and their Alternatives

Banned Chinese App

 

Functionality

 

Alternative APPs from another country

 

Alternative Indian Apps

 

TikTok

 

Social Media

 

Instagram IGTV, YouTube

 

 Chingari

 

Shareit

 

File transfer

 

Google Files Go

 

JioSwitch

 

Kwai

 

Social Media

 

Instagram IGTV, YouTube

 

 Chingari

 

DC Browser

 

Browser

 

Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari

 

JioBrowser,

Bharat Browser,

Epic Browser

 

Baidu map

 

Maps

 

Google Maps, HERE Maps

 

MyMaplndia

Move

 

Shein

 

Shopping

 

Myntra, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon

 

Tata Cliq, Reliance Digital/Jio Mart

 

Clash of Kings

 

Games

 

PUBG

 

Ludo King,

Sudoku King

 

DU battery saver

 

Utility

 

Greenify, Servicely, Kaspersky Battery Life Saver

 

 

 

Helo

 

Social Media

 

Instagram IGTV, YouTube

 

 Chingari

 

Likee

 

Social Media

 

Instagram IGTV, YouTube

 

Chingari

 

YouCam makeup

 

Camera

 

Snapchat, Google Camera, Open Camera

 

India Selfie

Camera

 

Mi Community

 

Forum

 

Stackexchange, Stackoverflow, Quora

 

….

 

CM Browser

 

Browser

 

Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari

 

JioBrowser,

Bharat Browser.

Epic Browser

 

Virus Cleaner

 

Anti Virus

 

Safe security

 

Jio Security

 

APUS Browser Browser Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari

 

JioBrowser, Bharat Browser, Epic Browser
Shopping

 

Myntra, Flipkart, Snapdeal

 

Tata Cliq, Reliane Digital/Jio Mart

 

News

 

Flipboard, InShorts, Google News

 

TOI,dailyHunt

 

Camera

 

Snapchat, Google Camera, Open Camera

 

India Selfie Camera

 

Instant messaging

 

WhatsApp, Telegram

 

Hike, Jiochat

 

Email Client

 

Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Microsoft

 

Rediffmail

 

Microblogging

 

Twitter, Tumblr

 

Zihvah

 

File transfer

 

Google Files Go

 

JioSwitch

 

Audio

 

Spotify

 

JioSaavn, Gaana

 

Video Communication

 

Google Duo, Skype

 

Jio Meet, Namaste Bharat

 

Social Media

 

Instagram IGTV, YouTube

 

Chingari

 

Social Media Status/ short video

 

4FUN

 

Social Media Post Maker, Planner, Graphic Design, Post Maker, Whatscut Pro

 

Screen recorder

 

AZ Screen Recorder

 

IN Screen Recorder

 

Safe Lock

 

Keepsafe

 

Digilocker,Jio Security, NPAV Doc Locker

 

Utility

 

CCIeaner, Norton Clean, Avast cleanup

 

NPAV

 

Browser

 

Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari

 

JioBrowser, Bharat Browser, Epic Browser

 

Games

 

PUBG

 

Ludo King, Sudoku King

 

Photo and Document Scanning

 

Microsoft Office Lens, Adobe Scan, Photoscan by Google

 

Camera Scanner Image Scanner

 

Media player

 

VLC, MX Player

 

Cnx Player

 

WeMeet

 

Social

 

Tinder

 

Flik

 

Sweet Selfie

 

Camera

 

Snapchat, Google Camera, Open Camera

 

India Selfie Camera

 

Baidu Translate

 

Utility

 

Google Translate, Microsoft Translate

 

English to Indian Language Translator

 

Vmate

 

Social Media Status/ short video

 

4FUN

 

Social Media Post Maker, Planner, Graphic Design, Post Maker, Whatscut Pro

 

QQ International

 

Instant messaging

 

WhatsApp, Telegram

 

Hike

 

QQ Security Center

 

Anti Virus

 

safe security

 

Jio Security

 

QQ Launcher

 

Utility

 

Microsoft Launcher

 

 

U Video

 

Social Media Status/ short video

 

4FUN

 

Social Media Post Maker, Planner, Graphic Design, Post Maker, Whatscut Pro

 

Mobile Legends

 

Games

 

PUBG

 

Ludo King, Sudoku King

 

In this context, the decision by the Indian Government  banning 59 Chinese Apps is significant statement of intent. The government  is trying to revive domestic manufacturing with a call for self-reliance and a reduction in overall imports and popularizing Atmanirbhar Grand Challenge to create the best.

For us privacy and protection of data of our countrymen are supreme. No compromise on the issues of data security and national integrity.

We Indians who take pride in our IT prowess, should take the situation as a challenge and build better Apps. Not that our technologists are inferior, but the drive, motivation and enterprise are lacking. Yes, there are many roadblocks, such as Government Procedure, lack of feeling of Vocal for Local, as our Hon’ble PM puts it, lack of Venture Capital and the ease of getting it, etc. Now hopefully this ecosystem will change and this ban will act as a boon and as a starting point for providing the required ecosystem.

To achieve “Atma Nirbhar” goal, we need to go through some initial pain. We in technical education need to create an ecosystem where every academic year we contribute new products / apps to the society. We will have to bring in schemes to harness our technological prowess and promote developing tools for the digital world. We should make our R & D & I centers more active, create a research team comprising of multidiscipline to work together on development of Apps and Digital Solutions and other commercial products which can be marketed and thus reduce the import pressure.

Make in India initiative should give a boost  for making India the next prospective Apps/Software Developer and to bring India back on track and promote local talents and help them reach the international market.

The concept of Self-reliant India will help all of us in terms of poverty alleviation, economic growth and development in all spheres, leading to meaningful life and growth.

Make in India initiative should give a boost for making India the next prospective Apps/Software Developer. PIB India
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