Government chooses 10 startups to build a Zoom, Google Meet alternative


SaaS major, Zoho, and major tech company, HCL, are two of the ten companies that have been shortlisted by the government of India, for developing a local India-made video conferencing app solution.

Apart from Zoho and HCL Technologies, the other chosen companies are PeopleLink, Aria Telecom, CyberHorizon Corp, Instrive Softlabs, PeopleLink Unified Communications Sarv Webs, Soulpage IT Solutions, Techgentsia Software Technologies and Data Ingenious.

The government has planned around three rounds that the companies will have to go through. Each of these companies will receive INR 5 lakh from the government to formulate a prototype similar to Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and other video-conferencing apps. This comprises the first round of the selection.

Thereupon, the government will choose three startups out of these 10 to assemble the output further. These three startups will be receiving INR 20 Lakh each, for building the local made-in-India video-conferencing platform.

The third round will consist of finalizing one startup out of the three. The chosen and fully developed platform will then be adopted by the central and state governments as a local alternative to existing solutions like Zoom and Hangouts. Following the third round, the government will provide financial support to the best solution which will get the definitive contract.

The said contract is said to be for a duration of four years. The first year will require the government to pay INR 1 crore to the chosen startup, and the subsequent three years will require them to pay an additional INR 10 lakh to the startup, as maintenance of operations.

The project was launched by the government in April and is now being handled by the IT ministry. The main goal of the government seems to be promoting local goods and solutions, along with building an app which can function even in low signal areas. Alongside this project, the government is also individually designing its own video-conferencing forum. This responsibility has been given to the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT). This platform would be used by the officials of the government, judiciary, and the general public.

By Yukta Baid

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