Sandes, an Indian government alternative to WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps, has been launched by the National Informatics Centre.The new platform is an upgrade to the existing Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS) that was developed to provide government officials with a WhatsApp-like communication app. The Sandes app can be used by both government officials and individual users. It requires a mobile number or government email ID for sign up. Once signed up, users can send and receive messages as well as new create groups or send multimedia content such as images and videos.
Similar to WhatsApp and other major instant messaging apps, Sandes (which means message in Hindi) says it uses end-to-end encrypted communication. The app can be used for sending and receiving messages or sharing images and videos between contacts. It also allows contact sharing and group chats. Further, users can also broadcast messages or set certain messages as their favourite. Sources in the government also confirmed to NDTV that a second app, called Samvad (which means conversation) is also in the works. “These apps are being developed completely by the government of India. It is going to be an instant messaging app like WhatsApp,” a MeITY functionary told NDTV.