- Sandes, a WhatsApp alternative is currently being tested in India
- It is currently aimed at government officials
- The app may become available for wider audiences later
It was reported in January last year that the Indian government is working on an alternate version of WhatsApp. Previous reports claimed that the app would be called GIMS (an acronym for Government Instant Messaging System). However, a fresh report by Business Standard states that officials have decided to name the app Sandes. It should not be confused with another similar-sounding app called Sandesh, which is already available at Google Play.
Most of the government departments have been using WhatsApp groups or other social media platforms for exchanging confidential information. Sandes is being tested to offer enhanced security for such communications. The news of the locally developed Sandes app has come at a time when there are growing privacy concerns related to WhatsApp.
Sandes, a Made in India WhatsApp alternative
The publication reported that some of the government officials are already testing the Sandes app. While the Made in India alternate of WhatsApp is currently aimed towards providing a secure message exchanging platform for government officials, experts are of the view that the app would be made available to a wider audience in the future.
The Sandes name can be seen mentioned on the gims.gov.in official website. It offers three kinds of login options to the users such as LDAP, Sandes OTP, and Sandes Web. Clicking on any of these options shows a message that reads, “This authentication method is applicable for authorised government officials.”
The report states that the Sandes is designed to run on Android and iOS platforms. Like WhatsApp and other chat applications, it also supports voice and data. The official website reveals that Sandes is backed by the National Informatics Center (NIC), which provides the infrastructure to support the IT services of the government and some of the Digital India initiatives.
The NIC which belongs to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been providing email service for the government. The body is known for using open-source software platform for developing such secure apps. Last year’s report claimed that the Indian version of WhatsApp will be available in 11 Indian languages. Currently, it is said to be available in English and Hindi editions.