The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has announced that the deadline for startups to register for the Rs 1 crore challenge for the homegrown video conferencing service. The challenge, which is officially titled as the 'Innovation Challenge for Development of a Video Conferencing Solution', will now allow interested startups to register for the competition by May 7. However, the deadline for submission of the ideas for the challenge still remains May 7, so companies that sign up for the challenge late will have a shorter period to submit their ideas.
The video conferencing challenge will initially select 10 startups as part of the first round of selection. These startups would be granted a sum of Rs 5 lakh each, to build on their idea. Once the draft product is presented, a final round of three startups would be selected and offered grants worth Rs 20 lakh each to build a final prototype. The final round will select one winner of the challenge, which will be awarded a sum of Rs 1 crore to build and release the app for the government of India.
The challenge was released in light of the need for an official, secure video conferencing service that can be used by government officials and users alike. This was further highlighted due to the myriad security issues that surfaced regarding the app Zoom. To help keep users safe, the Indian government issued an advisory against using apps such as Zoom and Google Meet. As an interim measure, the government had suggested that all official video conferencing nneeds will be taken care of by an existing video conferencing framework, operated by the National Informatics Centre.