India-made WhatsApp rivals ‘Sandes’ & ‘Samvad’ apps could be launched by PM Modi soon: Report

WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy has drawn a lot of flak in India due to the nature of data-sharing procedures. Even the Indian government wrote to WhatsApp to withdraw its updated privacy policy and to “respect the informational privacy and data security of Indian users.”

Taking matters into its own hands, the Indian government is testing its homegrown secured messaging services called ‘Sandes’ and ‘Samvad’ and both these apps are currently in their beta testing phase.

While ‘Sandes’ app is already available for download for iOS users via the App Store, the Android version of the app has been made available only to a select number of users via a .apk file. (Hindi) was the first to break the story about Sandes being available for download. You can read more about ‘Sandes’ app here. 

It is speculated that one of these messaging apps will soon be officially launched by PM Narendra Modi.

What we know about Samvad app

According to an NDTV report, Samvad is another secured messaging app that is currently being tested.

Speaking to NDTV, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) said that “these apps (Sandes and Samvad) are being developed completely by the government of India. It is going to be an instant messaging app like WhatsApp.”

The report also says that the Indian government is looking to introduce a messaging app called GIMS – Government Instant Messaging Service, which will only be made available to employees of the Government of India.

“A need was being felt within the government for a very long time to have our own, independent, and self-owned instant messaging service. Development of these apps began way before the present WhatsApp controversy,”, the report said.

Another version of the Samvad app was spotted back in 2019 at the India Mobile Congress. The app had been developed by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) and was made only for internal use by government employees.

When will these apps roll out?

The government has made the beta version of Sandes available for public use and it is rumoured that it will release the official version of both the apps (or just one) after it has received inputs post the beta testing phase.

The NDTV report also says that there is a possibility that one of the two apps might be used for government use only while the other will be made available to the public.

-with inputs from NDTV.

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