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Uninstalling Apps Unlikely To Create Ripples In China

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Social media has been overflowing with memes ever since the Indian government decided to ban as many as 59 apps of Chinese origin. The app ban was implemented in response to the violent clashes between the two countries in the Union Territory of Ladakh. The list of banned Chinese apps contains a few famous names including the likes of WeChat, TikTok, Club Factory and UC Browser.   

Why Were These Apps Banned in India? 

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology released a statement: 

Upon receiving of recent credible inputs that such apps pose a threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices. This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure the safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.

Concerns about the misuse of these apps were raised. The press release also stated that numerous Chinese apps were stealing and transmitting users’ data to servers located outside the country. The Ministry reiterated that all of these apps were banned to “safeguard” the sovereignty of the country under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act. 

Section 69A of the IT Act gives the Union government the power to restrict websites that threaten India’s defence and sovereignty. It gives the Central government the power to block public access to any information online. Furthermore, several users had raised concerns about privacy and data security.

Impact On the App Makers and Providers in China: 

The impact of the newly-implemented app ban is bound to be immense. TikTok and Club Factory are some of the most widely-used apps in India. A ban on these apps will lead to a significant decline in advertising revenues. Also, TikTok has more than 600 million downloads in India (nearly 30% of the total global downloads). With the app ban in place, TikTok can lose its biggest overseas market. In the October–December quarter last year, the app reported a profit of ₹25 crores in India alone.

No Dearth of Alternatives: 

Fortunately, there isn’t a dearth of alternatives and switching over to other similar apps won’t be a problem either. 

Take this for example, those using UC Browser can switch to other browsers (Opera and Google Chrome). Those addicted to TikTok can switch to Dubsmash, a German app that lets users make bite-sized selfie videos. Now that TikTok is banned, several of its competitors would enter the fray in order to make inroads into India. Of late, TikTok’s rival, Moj, launched by ShareChat, has witnessed a massive surge in downloads. Users seem to have found a handy alternative. Moj has a rating of 3.9 on Google’s Playstore.    

The Numbers:

  • TikTok is expected to lose $6 billion because of the ban.
  • TikTok alone is expected to lose more than the combined figures of all other apps of Chinese-origin banned in India.
  • ByteDance owns the app.
  • The app was downloaded 611 million times in the first quarter of 2020.
  • Vigo Video and Helo (both owned by ByteDance) are two of the 59 apps banned by the Indian government.

What Message Does the App Ban Have in Store? 

India’s message to China is loud and clear: economic ties with China are bound to see a plunge if Beijing continues with its “unilateral” moves on the LAC. The move isn’t expected to have a major impact on the Chinese economy but does hint at a few major possibilities in the long run.   

What’s With Huawei? 

The Indian government hasn’t banned Huawei. But the US is leaving no stone unturned to bar the telecommunication major from the communication network grid, citing security concerns. The possible ban on Huawei would be powerful enough to derail its global operations. Huawei witnessed a slump in sales owing to the US ban.

The Fact of the Matter: 

India’s economic dependencies on China are immense. India’s import dependency on China is high. Various sectors of the Indian economy are reliant on Chinese imports (pharmaceuticals, merchandise, telecommunication networks, 4G, 5G services, etc.). Around 50% of consumer durables sold in India come from China. To top it all, India’s love affair with Chinese products goes way beyond the recently-imposed app ban. 

It’s a tough road ahead for India. Uninstalling a handful of apps from smartphones isn’t going to create shockwaves in the Chinese economy. However, the decision to ban Chinese apps might backfire as several Indian startups, including Zomato, Paytm, Bigbasket and Oyo are backed by Chinese investors. Therefore, New Delhi must prepare for the next steps with utmost caution and precision. 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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