BharOS: An Indigenous Operating System Developed by Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

Union Minister for Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, tested ‘BharOS’, an indigenous operating system developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT). BharOS is a new mobile operating system focused on privacy and security. The BharOS is an Indian government-funded project to develop a free and open-source operating system (OS) for use in government and public systems. The project aims to reduce the dependence on foreign OS in smartphones and promote the use of locally developed technology.

Digital India

  • “For the very first time when our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji talked about digital India 8 years ago, some of our friends mocked him, but today, technocrats, innovators, industries and policymakers, and academic institutions of the country have accepted his vision after eight years,” said Pradhan. Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was also present at the event. “There will be difficulties in this journey and there are many people around the world who will bring difficulties and will not want any such system to be successful,” Vaishnav said.

BharOS Services

  • BharOS Services are currently being provided to organizations that have stringent privacy and security requirements and whose users handle sensitive information that requires confidential communications on restricted apps on mobiles. Such users require access to private cloud services through private 5G networks.
  • The BharOS was developed by JandK Operations Private Limited (JandKops), which has been incubated by IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation, a Section 8 (Not for Profit) Company established by IIT Madras. The Foundation is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, under its National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NMICPS).

Built on Trust and Freedom

  • Addressing a press conference on January 19 to announce this Indian Mobile Operating System, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, of IIT Madras, said, “BharOS Service is a Mobile Operating System built on a foundation of trust, with a focus on providing users more freedom, control, and flexibility to choose and use only the apps that fit their needs.
  • This innovative system promises to revolutionize the way users think about security and privacy on their mobile devices.” “IIT Madras looks forward to working closely with many more private industries, government agencies, strategic agencies and telecom service providers to increase the usage and adoption of BharOS in our Country,” he added.

No Default Apps (NDA)

  • BharOS comes with No Default Apps (NDA). This means that users are not forced to use apps that they may not be familiar with or that they may not trust. Additionally, this approach allows users to have more control over the permissions that apps have on their device, as they can choose to only allow apps that they trust to access certain features or data on their device. According to Karthik Ayyar, Director, JandK Operations Pvt Ltd., the start-up that developed this Mobile Operating System, said, “In addition, BharOS offers ‘Native Over The Air’ (NOTA) updates that can help to keep the devices secure. NOTA updates are automatically downloaded and installed on the device, without the need for the user to manually initiate the process.
  • This ensures that the device is always running the latest operating system version, including the latest security patches and bug fixes. With NDA, PASS, and NOTA, BharOS ensures that Indian mobile phones are trustworthy.”

Private App Store Services (PASS)

  • “BharOS provides access to trusted apps from organization-specific Private App Store Services (PASS). A PASS provides access to apps that are specific to an organization, and only authorized users can access the apps through the PASS,” said Ayyar. This feature is especially useful for organizations that have specific security and privacy requirements.

Synopsis

The development of BharOS, an indigenous operating system by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras is a huge leap forward to create an indigenous ecosystem and a self-reliant future. The BharOS services are currently being provided to organizations that have stringent privacy and security requirements. With features such as No Default Apps (NDA), Native Over The Air (NOTA) updates, and Private App Store Services (PASS), BharOS ensures that Indian mobile phones are trustworthy. The Indian government’s funding and support for the development of BharOS is a step towards reducing dependence on foreign OS in smartphones and promoting the use of locally developed technology.

Written by IAS POINT

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