The NDA government’s decision to ban 59 apps developed by Chinese companies is a salutary one, though it will have short-term impacts on the country’s start-up ecosystem in terms of technology sharing and Chinese investments. A sizable number of tech start-ups are funded by Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent. There is no dispute that such investments have come at a cost. As rightly pointed out by our government, “the compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India” is a matter of serious concern at a time when the two countries are locked in a military conflict on the border. It is said that the Chinese Communist Party is the force behind many Chinese tech firms and investors who have invested in offshore businesses and high-tech firms. This makes our country vulnerable for financial arm-twisting and security breach.
Indians have been doing well in IT sector. The government should turn its focus on setting up ecosystems, techno parks, overhaul tech education to meet new challenges and providing liberal financial support for our youth to experiment and excel.
Some critics say that the government’s decision was an ‘emotional’ reaction and will cripple the country’s growing start-up ecosystem, which is a major employment provider. According to them, the move will stifle our tech sector. However, if the government properly exploits the situation to our advantage, we could emerge victorious, just like we had done in the space technology sector. When some countries refused to share cryogenic technology with us, our scientists developed it indigenously and as a result, we are second to none in space technology.
One of the major impediments for the development of the high-tech sector is lack of domestic investments. Therefore, the priority of the government should be to encourage domestic investors and financial institutions to fund tech start-ups and provide policy support. The government should also provide other incentives and assistance. China built up its tech muscle on liberal loans and financial assistance packages provided by their government, banks and financial institutions.
Although banning user-friendly and popular Chinese Apps may cause some inconvenience initially to some people, we should welcome this move taken in greater national interest. On the positive side, this could go a long way in achieving self-sufficiency (Atma Nirbhar) in the high-tech sector. Indians have been doing well in IT sector. The government should turn its focus on setting up ecosystems, techno parks, overhaul tech education to meet new challenges and providing liberal financial support for our youth to experiment and excel.
More importantly, the government should completely ban Chinese players in the telecom sector and use of radio and core equipment by Indian telecos as well.