Following up from the upbeat that India has seen off late around home-made alternatives to popular apps, India’s  Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has today announced a new “challenge” for Indian app developers. The challenge aims to push app development within the country, in critical domains such as healthcare, office/work apps, gaming, social media, news among others.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the challenge on his Twitter feed, in which he said:

MeitY, in association with Atal Innovation Mission- Niti Aayog wants India to not just become self sufficient in its app needs, but also become competent enough to cater to clients worldwide. “The Mantra is to Make in India for India and the World,” the announcement for the challenge needs. China, the country that has emerged as India’s newest foe, has managed to achieve this milestone a long time ago, and now, India is following suite (with less draconian restrictions of course).

“MeitY in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission – Niti Aayog launches Digital India AatmaNirbhar Bharat Innovate Challenge to identify the best Indian Apps that are already being used by citizens and have the potential to scale and become world class Apps in their respective categories,” the announcement reads.

The Indian government banned 59 apps with Chinese origins just a few days back to protect the Indian consumer from data theft, amid growing concerns of tension with the Chinese regime. However, the bold move has certainly left its mark, and the government is now looking to replace said apps with their indigenous versions.

Moreover, the Indian government doesn’t expect you to work for free. The challenge comes with “various cash awards and incentives”. The challenge wants to incentivise Indian entrepreneurs and Startups to “deate, incubate, build, nurture and sustain Tech solutions that can serve not only citizens within India but also the world.”

He shared a link to a post on his LinkedIn account, titled “Let’s code for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat!” which, as you can guess, is aimed towards promoting the ‘Aatmnirbharta’ initiative announced by him a few days back.


The AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge is being launched in the following 8 broad categories:

  • Office Productivity & Work from Home
  • Social Networking
  • E-Learning
  • Entertainment
  • Health & Wellness
  • Business including Agritech and Fintech
  • News
  • Games

There may be several sub categories within each category. What is interesting though, is Government’s further categorisation of these apps. Most of the descriptions clearly resemble one or the other popular app, largely those which have created a hegemony of sorts in the app industry. Have a look at the descriptions:

  • A mobile application harnessing the most accurate facial and / or body mapping technology to allow for a true-to-life virtual try out of products like spectacles, clothes, etc.
  • Mobile application for real-time speech-to-speech translation and camera translation of multiple languages.
  • An automated web-based application that handles business-to-business lead generation and cold emailing and is completely manageable from a mobile device itself.
  • Application to use mobile devices as image scanners with features like on the fly image correction, image editing, text recognition, etc.
  • Application to provide cloud storage integration, cross-platform file transfer via FTP or LAN, and a root browser on mobile device
  • A robust indigenous anti-virus software for mobile devices.
  • Application to optimize mobile device’s performance by cleaning junk/cache files, optimizing device memory and optimizing battery usage.
  • A mobile based live streaming platform for hosting webinars, lectures, etc.
  • A mobile based messaging and video calling application
  • A mobile based microblogging application
  • A mobile based news application that uses cutting-edge technology to recommend the most relevant and interesting news individually to each use.
  • A mobile application offering satellite imagery and street maps, as well as functions such as a route planner for traveling by foot, car, or with public transportation.
  • A mobile based online gaming platform which also functions as a social hub for gamers
  • A mobile based photo-editing application with all standard image editing features

So if you have an app that has the potential to go world wide but felt like you would never get the right platform for worldwide recognition, here’s your chance.