Government has developed its own messaging app called SandesThe Information Technology wing of the Government, National Informatics Centre or NIC has launched an instant messaging platform called Sandes, an Indian alternative of the popular global messaging service WhatsApp. However as of now, it can only be used internally among government employees and those agencies which are associated with the Government.Like WhatsApp, the new NIC platform can be used for all kinds of communications by anyone with a mobile number or an email address.Let us find out why Sandes was created and how it works, here.OriginThe idea to develop an indigenous messaging app had germinated during the first tenure of the NDA Government, while actual work on it had started in early 2020.When the Coronavirus pandemic broke out and the nation-wide lockdown was imposed in March 2020, the Government fast tracked the process, as the need was realised to secure end to end conversation among government employees, who were communicating on sensitive policy matters while working from home. NIC came out with its first version in August 2020.Following high level deliberations to secure official conversation, NIC started working on Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS) which is an open source, cloud enabled, end to end encrypted open source platform and is hosted on Government of India Data Centre.Named Sandes, it is an indigenous platform developed by NIC for instant and secured messaging amongst Government and citizens. The Mobile App, the Portal and the Gateway are the three major components of GIMS.How to use Sandes?The App can be configured to manage messaging and is integrated with other Government Apps. The management portal is for the organisation and employee on-boarding, group management, employee verification, broadcasting messages, dashboard and analytics. The messaging gateway manages the messaging and integration with other Government Apps.Just like other apps, it needs a valid mobile number or an email ID to register a first time user.The Android and iOS versions of Sandes are available at https:// gims.gov.in.Other key highlights Sandes includes email and mobile based self-registration, one to one messaging, group messaging supporting official, casual and list groups, file and media sharing, audio or video call, profile and contact management, message broadcasting and chatbot enabled dashboard.It’s Web version enables a user to send and receive messages from the web browser. Meanwhile official sources have informed that audio or video conference facility, enhanced chatbot and option for remote backup and wipeout of data are some of the major milestones which are part of the future roadmap for the App.