Why free and open source software is hot now

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A strategic plan is needed to bring communities, businesses, universities and government together to make India the world leader in open source driven innovation. We have a unique opportunity to harness FOSS to become technologically “Atmanirbhar”, i.e. self-sufficient and catalyze our digital growth. FOSS-led innovation will drive the growth of new technologies such as 5G/6G, microprocessor technology, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and others by building local technology capabilities.

This is no pipe dream – during the Covid-19 pandemic, various groups have come together to build, localize and deploy crisis response solutions for India, showing that such collaboration is possible. One such popular app is COVID19India.org, a FOSS initiative that engages over 100 active contributors to create a timely interactive map to show live updates on cases, tests, vaccination, etc. Media, academia and government have used COVID19India.org as the basis for their reports, and the Economic Survey 2020-21 cited it as a source for analysis related to Covid-19. We have also seen the collaborative development of a variety of open source Covid-19 related literacy apps, genomics platforms, spatial analysis libraries, e-learning apps etc. , bringing together governments, businesses, universities and communities to tackle the health crisis.

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