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IITian from Silchar launches Namaste App as Indian alternative to Zoom, Google Meet, wins multiple awards

The Indian Government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ projects have tried to inculcate the culture and tradition of indigenous production and innovation in a vast number of fields. Even in the last couple of years, India has come up with newer and more competitive alternatives to various products and technologies that can easily take on their multinational counterparts head-on. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is India’ first indigenously made Covid-19 vaccine which is helping the masses getting secured against the deadly disease, both on and off India. In the IT sector, ‘Koo’ launched last year is a microblogging platform where people can interact in multiple languages that were purely made and developed in India.

In Barak Valley too, we’ve seen last year that two young talents from this region have come up with two different Android apps which have become quite popular in this region. Now, Silchar’s son Prakash Sutradhar has come up with his own video conferencing app called ‘Namaste’ which has already received countrywide acclaim and support from various institutions. The ‘Namaste’ video conferencing app is aiming to function as an alternative to its foreign counterparts like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, etc. Also, most of these video conferencing platforms have limited free access, after which they require paid subscription to access the rest of their service. And Prakash had cached in on this issue as he has made the duration of video conference in the ‘Namaste’ app totally unlimited.

Prakash Sutradhar happens to be Senior Manager at the FM Department of the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, (NTPC) Bongaigaon, a prestigious PSU company. He’s an alumnus of the IIT Bombay, where completed both his B.Tech and M.Tech degrees. A resident of the Bilpar area of Silchar, Prakash said that the last year’s Covid lockdown had provided him with the perfect opportunity to work on something that he thought could solve the problems faced by innumerable people across this country.

Prakash Sutradhar did his schooling at Silchar’s Adhar Chand Higher Secondary School, before breaking through one of the best engineering colleges in India in 2004. “The sudden lockdown imposed throughout the country forced everyone to shift their workplace from physical spaces to virtual ones. Video conferencing apps became commonplaces for conducting office meetings, seminars, presentations, online classes, etc. But for the majority of institutions like schools, colleges or even some universities, it’s really hard to conduct classes at a stretch because most of the existing video conferencing apps like Zoom offered free service only for a limited time, after which one has to subscribe to their premium plans which of course are paid services. Big corporates somehow have managed to do so but school and college teachers face an acute crisis when they have to spend money from their own pockets to access those premium paid services for video conference. That’s why I decided right at the beginning to keep this app free of cost so that it’s accessible to everyone”, said Prakash Sutradhar whose ‘Namaste’ app is gradually getting recognition throughout the country.

Also, another important USP of the ‘Namaste’ app is its high video quality compared to its peers. “The app also provides high-quality HD video conferencing so that the participants can clearly see and understand the minute details of the information on their screens. But if the internet quality is poor, the app will automatically adjust its video quality according to the bandwidth just like YouTube so that the experience is seamless and worry-free”, said Prakash about what sets his ‘Namaste’ app apart from its giant competitors.

When it comes to security and data breach, Prakash assures that the platform is end-to-end encrypted and only the participants of the video conference would have access to their data and contents. Stressing on that issue, Prakash said, “Unlike other platforms like Teams or Zoom or Cisco Webex, whose servers are situated in foreign soil, the servers of ‘Namaste’ app is situated in Bangalore, India. We’ve seen over the past year that how glitches and bugs of apps could lead to data leaks from these apps to third parties, but our one is end-to-end encrypted and its servers are right in India.” This ‘Namaste’ app is so reliable and efficient that already many PSUs, private companies and educational institutions have started endorsing his app, despite having thousands of individual downloads as well.

This achievement is indeed a shining moment in India’s effort to attain ‘Atmanirbharata’. Upon its release, he has received several accolades from various corners of the country, like the ‘Indian Achievers’ Award 2020′ by the Indian Achievers’ Forum, ‘Young Icon of the Year 2020-21 (Educationist & IT Professional)’ Award by the Global Choice Awards, etc. What’s even more exciting is the fact that his employer, the NTPC Bongaigaon has already officially started endorsing the ‘Namaste’ app for all its official activities in virtual mode, which is a great achievement in itself. “My company NTPC Bongaigaon, has already released a circular asking all its employees to use ‘Namaste’ app for their daily work and official interactions, which had been previously using Microsoft Teams until then for the same. Another such reputed Indian PSU has already approached me for the same, but it’s still in the process of getting finalised. Many colleges and universities across others states like Maharashtra have already adopted this app for their online classes, and now they don’t have to worry about switching from one meeting to the next for a single class due to limited duration.” The app is available in both Android and iOS platforms, and can also be availed via desktop or web browser if one doesn’t wish to install the app on their phones.

By creating such an important and reliable platform for the masses, Silchar’s Prakash Sutradhar has merged his passion for coding and enthusiasm for new technologies & innovation to solve the issues of many and thus contributing towards Atmanirbhar Bharat.

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