Days after the government banned 59 Chinese apps, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday invited the start-up and tech community to participate in the "Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge".
In a tweet, Electronics and Information Technology (IT) Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the prime minister has launched the challenge to encourage Indian application developers and innovators.
Prime Minister Modi also said that it will help create an "Aatmanirbhar App Ecosystem". "Who knows, I may also use some of these apps made by you," he said in a write-up on LinkedIn.
Today there is immense enthusiasm among the tech and start-up community to create world class "Made in India Apps", Modi said.
"To facilitate their ideas and products, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology along with the Atal Innovation Mission are launching the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge'," the prime minister tweeted sharing the link to the LinkedIn post.
Modi had given a call for an "Atmanirbhar Bharat" (a self-reliant India) and had urged people to be "vocal for local" products.
He said the app innovation challenge is for those who have such a working product or if they feel they have the vision and expertise to create such products.
"I urge all my friends in the tech community to participate," he said while sharing the write-up "Let us Code for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat".
India has a very vibrant tech and start-up ecosystem, which has done India proud nationally as well as globally, Modi said. The country's youth have excelled in providing tech solutions across sectors, he said.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought about a big disruption, which is being tackled through the use of technology to aid our day to day lives," the prime minister pointed out.
"Everyone is aware of the huge potential of the market and the scale products can achieve if they can satisfy the demand," he said.
"Nowadays, we are seeing huge interest and enthusiasm among the start-up and tech ecosystem to innovate, develop and promote homegrown apps," Modi said.
"Today, when the entire nation is working towards creating an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, it is a good opportunity to give direction to their efforts, momentum to their hard-work and mentorship to their talent to evolve apps which can satisfy our market as well as compete with the world," he said in the write-up.
To help the start-up and tech community achieve this objective, the challenge will run in two tracks, which are Promotion of Existing Apps and Development of New Apps, Modi explained.
For promotion of existing apps and platforms across the categories of e-learning, work-from-home, gaming, business, entertainment, office utilities and social networking, the government will provide mentoring, hand-holding and support.
"Track-01" will work in mission mode for identifying good quality apps for the leader-board and will be completed in around a month. For incubating new apps and platforms, the "Track-02" initiative will work to help create new champions in India by providing support in ideation, incubation, prototyping and roll out along with market access.
The outcome of this challenge will be to give better visibility and clarity to existing apps to achieve their goals, and to create tech products to find solutions to tech conundrums with the help of mentorship, tech support and guidance during the entire life-cycle, the prime minister said.
There is tremendous scope among these sectors for new apps which solve specific issues for India and the world, he said.
"Can we think of making traditional Indian games more popular via apps? Can we develop apps with targeted and smart access to the right age group for learning, gaming? Can we develop gaming apps for people in rehabilitation or getting counselling to help them in their journey? There are many such questions and technology alone can give answers in a creative manner," Modi observed.
This challenge will be jointly hosted by the government and members of the tech community to make it more holistic, he said.