Inspired by Beijing, which has its own local search engines and social networking sites, with servers in China, an RSS affiliate has started work on setting up similar services that will cut the risk of “data leaks”.
The Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal (BSM), a Sangh affiliate that focuses on the education and research sector, has begun work on developing digital infrastructure that will complement the BJP-led NDA government’s Digital India campaign and address concerns of “cyber security.”
Contours of the project, still in its nascent stages are still being shaped; but it will be carried out in collaboration with universities, private companies and with some assistance from government-aided bodies.
Talking to HT, Mukul Kanitkar all-India organising secretary of the BSM said India needs to reduce its dependence on service providers such as Google and Facebook that have servers abroad.
“All our data is out there somewhere. Today we have friendly ties with these countries, but it is possible that there could a problem in the future, leaving our data vulnerable. Apart from software design, we need hardware capability too,” he said.
Like China, which has a local search engine Baidu; Ren Ren as the alternative to Facebook and Sina Weibo as a challenger to Twitter, BSM wants India to develop similar options for its people.
BSM is eyeing tie-ups with IITs and universities to create secure spaces for data.
This is not the first time that a Sangh affiliate has batted for indigenous platforms; former RSS leader K Govindacharya knocked on the doors of the Delhi High Court, asking for companies such as Facebook and Google to establish their servers India.
He also asked the government to refrain from using social media platforms and Google mail for official purposes.
“Cyber security is a major issue. The government and the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) are working in this area, but more needs to be done…our IITs and other centres of excellence must get involved,” Kanitkar said.
To drive the Sangh’s Swadeshi (indigenous) campaign, BSM is also getting ready to launch incubators for universities and researchers. It says, these centres would nurture students who have ideas, but not enough logistical support. The only rider here is that the intended research must be “relevant to society and the nation”, Kanitkar said.
The Sangh offshoot that campaigns for Indianised education system and is accused of attempting to saffronise the sector is also in the process of setting up a repository of data for researchers.
It has already signed up with universities to ensure that PhD guidelines make it mandatory for applicants to prove the applicability and social relevance of their projects.