New Delhi: India, known as the world’s fastest-growing economy, has taken another significant stride in the technological sector. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) announced the Indian Web Browser Development Challenge, an initiative to support and stimulate the creation of an indigenous web browser. This ambitious project aims to compete with global giants like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
A Step Towards Self-Reliance:
The government’s move is seen as a step towards reducing reliance on foreign technologies. Arvind Kumar, the Controller of Certifying Authorities, launched the competition in New Delhi. He emphasized India’s necessity to shift from international browsers and create its own browser that adheres to international standards.
Furthermore, the proposed browser will ensure the safety of personal data and will be equipped with an integrated Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) India root certificate. This is expected to instill confidence in the general public.
Welcoming Innovation and Entrepreneurship:
S D Sudarshan, Executive Director of C-DAC, hailed this initiative, stating it would provide a fresh platform for entrepreneurs and developers. He emphasized the open nature of the challenge, predicting that it would yield the best outcomes.
This competition has specific eligibility criteria. It is open to Indian Tech Start-ups, MSMEs, Companies, and LLPs registered under the Companies Act 2013, and mandates that a minimum of 51 percent shareholding must be held by Indian citizens.
Prize and Prospects:
The government has allocated a cash prize of 3.4 crore rupees for developers who successfully create an indigenous browser. The Ministry stresses that the browser must place trust in India’s Controller of Certifying Authorities.
An Eye on International Negotiations:
The government perceives this initiative as an avenue to enhance its negotiation leverage with prominent US-based browsers like Google and Mozilla Firefox. Currently, major browsers do not feature India’s certifying agency within their root stores, and this move could potentially change that.
Internet Landscape and Future Development:
In India’s vast internet landscape, boasting approximately 850 million users, Google Chrome is the leader with an 88.47 percent market share. The government anticipates the development of homegrown web browsers by 2024 and has extended invitations to domestic startups, academic institutions, and corporations to participate in the program.
In addition to supporting the developmental journey, the government will facilitate the acceptance of domestic web browsers. These browsers are expected to adhere to Web3 standards, support digital signatures, and integrate native features like support for Indian languages. This announcement symbolizes a major leap for Indian technology and a step towards a future free from foreign reliance.