The data protection landscape of India is witnessing widespread privacy violations owing to unauthorized data harvesting, data mining and data extraction by the two prominent global giants Google and Apple. The government is however, eyeing towards establishing a more robust and healthier ecosystem to achieve better digital privacy. With the Data Protection Bill round the corner, India has got its own indigenous mobile operating system to provide a better mechanism for digital data safety. The step will go a long way in revolutionizing the ‘seeds of Atma Nirbharta in Operating System domain’.
India inches closer towards Atma Nirbharta in Operating System domain
India has successfully tested the indigenous mobile operating system ‘BharOS‘. The said operating system was developed by the students of IIT Madras and was dedicated for national service by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Ashwini Vaishnav. With the launch of the desi OS, India inches closer towards materializing the dream of ‘Atma Nirbharta’ in the digital sphere.
The calibrated move of the Indian government has the potential to completely transform our progress in the software market. After the initial success of this BharOS, the Modi government can start issuing graded notifications making it mandatory for Original Equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to have this Desi OS. In that case, the user will be able to exercise independent choice in downloading software applications rather than to be compulsorily hooked in the want of compatibility issues of the OS and the apps.
The progressive development has received accolades from PM Narendra Modi, who hailed the significant contributions of the students of IIT Madras. Whereas, the Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan congratulated on this new achievement and said, “For the first time when our Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about Digital India eight years ago some of our friends made fun of him but today technocrats, innovators, industry and policy makers and educational institutions of the country have accepted his vision after eight years it has started to materialize.”
What is the ‘BharOS’ operating system?
The ‘BharOS’, is a new mobile operating system developed with the collaboration of the government and IIT Madras. The system is completely focused on privacy and security. The ‘BharOS’ mobile operating system software is similar to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS that dominates the market in this sphere.
Currently, Google and Apple enjoy lion’s share in the OS market. As per Statista, Android leads the mobile operating systems worldwide. In the fourth quarter of 2022, it held around 71.8% share, while iOS accounted for around 27.6% of the OS market. In India, the market is further skewed in favour of Google. It accounts for nearly 97% of the OS market while Apple’s iOS maintains a very small presence.
The dominant position of the two main interfaces of Smartphones made it imperative for India to have an indigenous operating system. Consequently, the government of India funded the project to develop a free and open-source operating system (OS) for use in government and public systems. The project was aimed at reducing the dependence on foreign software and ensuring data privacy.
Initial beneficiaries of BharOS
The ‘BharOS’ service will initially be provided to organizations that have stringent privacy and security requirements and whose users handle sensitive information that requires confidential communication over restricted apps on mobile.
Further, the Director, IIT Madras, Professor V Kamakoti, has said that ‘BharOS’ service is a mobile operating system built on the foundation of trust. The focus has been on providing more freedom to its users. The control and flexibility to choose and use only the apps that best suit their needs. He added that IIT Madras looks forward to working closely with many more private industries, government agencies, strategic agencies and telecom service providers to increase the use and adoption of BharOS in our country.
It is interesting to note that ‘BharOS’ comes with no default apps (NDA). This means that the users are not forced to use apps they may not be familiar with or trust. Further, the ‘BharOS’ provides ‘Native over the Air’ (NOTA) updates that can help keep devices secure. The added perks which the system offers will ensure enhanced data protection mechanisms in the nation.
BharOS compliments the Data Protection Bill
The central government is inching closer towards the enacting of the Data Protection Act. The government is preparing to bring said Bill in the upcoming budget session. The bill is said to meet the requirements of the rapidly increasing digitization, cyber fraud and data privacy violations.
The recent launch of the BharOS application and the proposed Data Security Bill would help the nation achieve a more comprehensive and healthier ecosystem on data privacy. Furthermore, from a vantage point it appears that the two developments would also play a significant role in curtailing the monopolistic tendency of the two tech-giants Google and Apple.
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