Government officials have reportedly started using Sandes, a desi alternative to popular messaging application Whatsapp, which is owned by Facebook. Back in 2020, the central government had hinted at developing a Whatsapp-like messaging platform. It appears like the application is ready is being tested by government officials of various ministries.
According to a report published in Business Standard, officials have started using the GIMS, an abbreviation for Government Instant Messaging System, which was later renamed to Sandes. The app, as of now, can be used by Government officials only. When the users try to sign in on this app through LDAP, sign-in with Sandes OTP, and Sandes web, they are told: “This authentication method is applicable for authorised government officials”.
The desi alternative to Whatsapp packs all the features that any instant messaging application currently provides. It offers voice and data and is available for both iOS and Android users. The backend of the Sandes Application is handled by the National Informatics Centre, a branch under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
The report confirms the earlier claims that the move to make an indigenous alternative to Whatsapp was taken by the government to get its employees off the social media networks that might be compromised. It also means that the government of India in the next few years might completely switch more secure home-grown chat apps and get rid of WhatsApp like apps.
IT ministry accounts move to Koo as Govt mulls action against Twitter
Besides accompanying privacy issues, foreign-based social media organisations are also accused of exhibiting anti-India bias and working at the behest of India’s enemies. This concern has triggered the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and many of its organisations to move to Koo, a Made-in-India alternative to microblogging platform Twitter. According to a report, Ministry of Electronics and IT, MyGov, Digital India, India Post, NIC, NIELIT, SAMEER, Common Services Center, UMANG app, Digi Locker, NIXI, STPI, CDAC, and CMET have verified handles on the platform.
Significantly, the decision to migrate on the Make-in-India Twitter alternative came at a time when the Government is mulling actions against the social media behemoth for failing to comply with its orders on removing Khalistani and anti-India accounts. Sources told News18, “The accounts ordered blocked are of Khalistani sympathisers, or those backed by Pakistan and operating from foreign territories. Many of the accounts are also automated bots that were used for sharing and amplifying misinformation and provocative contents on farmers protest.”
We can also confirm that the government has taken note of the Twitter activity of CEO Jack Dorsey which hints at an anti-India bias. Sources within the Ministry said, “It is also pertinent to note that a few days ago global CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey had liked several tweets made by foreign-based celebrities in support of farmer protests. Given this, the defiance of Government orders by Twitter raises several questions.”