October 25, 2020

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IT Ministry launches Digital India app challenge

To support and build a strong ecosystem for indigenously-developed IT applications, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched the Digital India AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge.

The contest, developed in collaboration with the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), targets Indian tech entrepreneurs and startups.

It will be implemented through two tracks: the promotion of existing apps and the development of new apps.

The focus of the first track is to identify the best Indian apps that are already being used by citizens and have the potential to be upscaled.

A press release has said that the challenge seeks to create an ecosystem where Indian entrepreneurs and startups are incentivised to ideate, incubate, build, nurture, and sustain tech solutions that will serve not only citizens within India but also the world.

The initiative will be completed over the month.

Track one is being launched in eight broad categories: office productivity and work-from-home; social networking; e-learning; entertainment; health and wellness; business (including agritech and fin-tech); news; games.

The government has also released a list of sub-categories and problem statements. Some of which include:

  • An application for real-time speech-to-speech translation and camera translation of multiple languages.
  • An automated web-based application that handles business-to-business lead generation and cold emailing and is completely manageable from a mobile device.
  • An application to use mobile devices as image scanners with features like on the fly image correction, image editing, text recognition, etc.
  • An application to provide cloud storage integration, cross-platform file transfer via FTP or LAN, and a root browser on a mobile device.
  • Robust indigenous anti-virus software for mobile devices.
  • Application to optimise mobile device’s performance by cleaning junk/cache files, optimising device memory and optimising battery usage.
  • A mobile-based live streaming platform for hosting webinars, lectures, etc.
  • A mobile-based microblogging application.
  • A mobile-based news application that uses cutting-edge technology to recommend relevant and interesting news individually to each user.
  • A mobile-based photo-editing application with all standard image editing features.

After the first phase, the government will launch track two of the challenge that will identify Indian startups, entrepreneurs or companies and encourage them with ideation, incubation, prototyping, and the rolling out of applications. This track will run for a longer, the details of which will be provided separately, the release said.

The challenge will be available on the official website. The last date to submit entries is 18 July. Applicants need to apply online to submit their proposals by registering and logging on to the MyGov portal.

A specific Jury for each track with experts from the private sector and academia will evaluate the entries received. Shortlisted entries will be given awards and will feature on leaderboards.

The government will also adopt suitable apps, guide them to maturity, and list them on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM).

Some of the key evaluation parameters will include ease-of-use, robustness, security, and scalability.

Launched in 2015, the Digital India programme is a government campaign to electronically deliver national services to Indian citizens. The initiative focusses on improving online infrastructure, increasing internet connectivity, and making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology.