At a time when entrepreneurs in India wary of leftist highhandedness — including arbitrary censorship — are coming up with their own social networking sites like Elyments that clones Facebook and Koo that is a copy of Twitter, the union government is equally keen to develop and strengthen its own mobile app store, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad told the parliament today. The government will continue to encourage private players to host apps, he said.
the first app store developed in India, ‘Mobile Seva Appstore’ hosts more than 965 live apps from various domains and categories of public services, the minister said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. “While the government encourages private players to host apps, it is equally keen to develop and encourage its own mobile app store,” Prasad said.
It may be recalled in this context that Parler, a Twitter clone — developed and run by some pro-Republican Americans who had been excommunicated from Twitter along with then US President Donald Trump — had, months after its launch, run into trouble when Google, Apple and Amazon asked it what safeguards it offers in situations like the Capitol Hill riot. Parler had meekly submitted, accepting the conditions put forth by the two giant application stores, one each for Android phones and iPhones. With their own app store made in India, Indians cannot be heckled by the tech giants any more, it is hoped.
The response has been good and the government wishes to strengthen it further, the union minister said.
The minister was replying to a question on whether in the absence of the country’s own digital application store, dependence on Google and Apple for digital services is creating problems in the digital ecosystem and if the ministry would consider having either a single or separate digital store for government and private apps, for self-reliance.
Prasad noted that India was the largest user of mobile apps, and said that the Digital India programme coupled with encouragement being given to Indian innovators to create apps had become a big movement.
Citing India App Market Statistics report 2021, the union minister said that around 5% of apps on Android are from Indian app developers.
“The government also noted that there had to be a proper Indian app store for hosting apps free of cost in the initial stages,” the union minister said.
Accordingly, the Mobile Seva App Store was started which besides hosting Government apps is also encouraging private apps to come on board, Prasad noted.