Indian Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC)

The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) has taken a significant step towards advancing India’s digital sovereignty with the launch of the Indian Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC). This innovative initiative aims to inspire and empower technology enthusiasts, innovators and developers from across the nation to create an indigenous web browser. The challenge was formally introduced on 9th August 2023 during a Launch Programme held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

Indian Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC)

Collaborative Leadership

The Indian Web Browser Development Challenge is a collaborative effort led by MeitY in conjunction with the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) Bangalore. This collaboration underscores the commitment of various stakeholders to drive technological innovation and digital self-reliance.

Unveiling the Challenge

Dignitaries graced the launch event, including Smt. Sunita Verma, Scientist G & Group Coordinator (R&D in Electronics & Information Technology), Shri Arvind Kumar, Controller of Certifying Authorities, MeitY and Dr. S. D. Sudarshan, Executive Director C-DAC, Bangalore. Collectively, they unveiled the browser development challenge brochure, setting the stage for a groundbreaking competition.

Inspiring Objectives

The IWBDC is designed as an open challenge competition that seeks to nurture the development of a homegrown web browser. The envisioned browser will feature its own trust store, integrating an inbuilt CCA India root certificate for heightened security. This focus on security extends to cutting-edge functionalities and data privacy protection features, ensuring user confidence and safe digital interactions.

Accessibility and Innovation

Beyond security, the proposed browser places a strong emphasis on accessibility and user-friendliness. It aspires to offer built-in support for individuals with diverse abilities, fostering inclusivity in the digital realm. Furthermore, the browser envisions the capability to digitally sign documents using a crypto token, bolstering secure transactions and reinforcing digital interactions.

A Momentous Stride

Smt. Sunita Verma, Scientist G & Group Coordinator (R&D in Electronics & Information Technology), conveyed the sentiments of Shri Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary, MeitY. This challenge represents a significant stride towards realizing an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, a self-reliant India, by fortifying the country’s digital sovereignty through the creation of an indigenous web browser.

Forward-Thinking Vision

Reflecting on the broader impact, Smt. Verma highlighted MeitY’s pivotal role in reshaping the nation’s future through various initiatives. The IWBDC addresses a critical component of internet usage – the web browser – which serves as a gateway for end-users accessing the digital landscape.

Power of Digital India

Smt. Sunita Verma underscored the transformative power of Digital India, which has revolutionized the nation’s functioning, empowered citizens and elevated governance. Moving forward, the integration of technology and the promotion of indigenous innovation stand as essential pillars in realizing the vision of a self-reliant, digitally empowered India.

Call to Innovators

The launch event featured Shri Arvind Kumar, CCA, MeitY, who highlighted the crucial role played by CCA in ensuring the trustworthiness and security of digital certificates issued in India. The initiative to develop a browser with an inbuilt India Root Certificate signifies a strategic step towards reducing dependency on foreign entities for SSL certificates, thereby enhancing India’s internet resilience.

Nurturing Innovation

Shri S D Sudarshan, ED, C-DAC Bangalore, provided insights into the challenge competition. The competition comprises three rounds: the ideation round, the finalist selection round and the ultimate winner selection. Technical mentorship will be provided throughout the challenge to support participants in refining their ideas.

Rewards and Recognition

The challenge offers substantial rewards, with a total prize pool of Rs. 3.41 crore. The winning participant will receive a coveted Rs. One crore prize along with continued support to further develop the browser and elevate it to new heights.

Engaging Participation

The launch programme witnessed the active participation of more than 200 stakeholders from government departments, industry, start-ups and academia. Both online and offline modes were utilized to ensure broad engagement. A panel discussion provided an opportunity for participants to interact with officials from MeitY, CCA and C-DAC, addressing queries and fostering a deeper understanding of the initiative.

Forging Ahead

As the launch event concluded, a resounding call echoed for innovative minds from all walks of life to partake in the challenge. This is a collective endeavor to craft an Indian Web Browser that embodies security, accessibility and innovation, reinforcing India’s digital sovereignty and technological prowess on the global stage.

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