India has embarked on a bold endeavor, tasking its citizens with crafting an indigenous web browser complete with the novel feature of digitally signing documents through crypto tokens. In an official press release dated August 9, 2023, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) unveiled the Indian Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC), rallying technology enthusiasts, innovators, and developers to contribute to the creation of a domestic web browser boasting advanced functionalities and heightened security features.
The proposed browser, a cornerstone of India’s “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) initiative led by Prime Minister Modi, is poised to introduce transformative capabilities aligned with the nation’s digital advancement.
The IWBDC aims to instigate the inception of a web browser endowed with a proprietary trust store and an inbuilt CCA India root certificate. Of particular note is the browser’s anticipated capability for digitally signing documents using crypto tokens, elevating the security and integrity of transactions and digital interactions.
Smt Sunita Verma, Scientist G & GC (R&D in Electronics & IT), underlined the impact of technology on governance, economy, and citizen empowerment through the Digital India initiative. She emphasized the significance of indigenous innovation to realize a self-reliant, digitally empowered nation.
The Indian Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA), Shri Arvind Kumar, strives to fortify the security of digital certificates issued within the country and contribute to the development of a robust Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) framework for secure electronic transactions. Presently, India relies on SSL certificates from foreign entities’ roots. The upcoming native browser is poised to integrate India’s Root Certificate, enhancing internet resilience and addressing the current dependency.
The challenge extends an invitation to the entire spectrum of creative minds, including academia, industry players, startups, and individuals. The competition spans three rounds, culminating in the selection of the most innovative and functional concept. The victor will secure a substantial prize of 34 million Indian rupees (approximately $411,000) and ongoing support for the browser’s subsequent development.
This initiative heralds a pivotal step in realizing India’s aspiration for self-reliance and technological sovereignty, and the introduction of the forthcoming browser is set to reshape the digital landscape of the nation.