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Govt invites startups to develop homegrown video conferencing platform

The government of India is looking for ten startups to develop indigenous video conferencing solutions under the Digital India initiative to enable smooth remote operations as well as teleconferencing between agencies and state governments. The project has been undertaken by the IT Ministry.

Each startup will be provided with INR 5 Lakh to develop the prototype of the product. Once approved, the shortlisted startups will be granted INR 20 Lakhs to develop the final product. In total, the IT Ministry has set aside INR 2.3 Cr for the same.

With this, the Indian government is looking to promote Indian software products, under the National Policy on Software Products. The government is seeking products that are at par with international video conferencing standards as offered by Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and other products. The video conferencing should be able to function without any glitches even in low bandwidth areas.

The winning solution will be deployed for the use of the central government and its departments, along with the state government entities for a period of four years. The government will be paying INR 1 Cr to the selected product for the first year and an additional INR 10 Lakh per year for the next three years for maintenance and operation of the solution.

In order to provide initial market, the winning team with the best-judged solution will get a contract to deploy their solution for use by Government of India and State Government entities for a period of 4 years and will also be given Rs 1 crore in the first year and an additional 10 lakh per year for 3 years after the first year towards operations and maintenance of the solution for the Government,” MyGov’s statement read. 

The government has also clarified that all the participating startups and entities, including the winning entity, will be allowed to market the product to other organisations outside India. However, the startups will have to host it in a separate environment for non-government customers.

With physical distancing and self quarantining becoming the new norm, the video conferencing tools, whether for leisure or work, have been skyrocketing. While platforms like Zoom have started offering their services for free, other platforms like Instagram and Google Duo have increased the limit of users on the video call.

Even the Indian government has resorted to virtual conferences in order to stay in touch and discuss important issues of national interest.


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