The App Ban and How it Affects Students

“The suddenness, the sheer suddenness” of the Chinese app ban has hit students substantially, who used many of these apps regularly, but have no alternative left with the ban.

Recently, the Indian Government issued a ban on 59 Chinese apps, with immediate effect, leaving many stunned, happy or even disappointed. Seen as a symbolic response to China’s aggression along the border, it has caught many off-guard with what anchor Arnab Goswami accurately described as “The sheer suddenness of the move, the unexpected nature of the move, the unpredictability of the move.”

The move, though been questioned, has largely been lauded as a right step in the direction of an emerging ‘Atma Nirbhar’ India. With many of the apps being popular utility and entertainment software, perhaps the most affected by this move have been the youth and students of the country.

Take, for instance, ‘Tik Tok.’ Tik Tok is a social media and sharing platform that is immensely popular globally and has India is the largest market for it in terms of users. Free to use and simple to operate, Tik Tok gave the average netizen the ability to create short and long-form content of various genres, putting the power to create in the hands of more than ever. Some Indian citizens celebrated the ban of Tik Tok as they deemed it to be “cringey” content shows how important Tik Tok was. Due to the simplistic nature of the format and the lack of editing expertise required to make it big, Tik Tok had given a platform from people who were not from the economic upper class to make it big on social media, something which isn’t prevalent on longer formats of social media like Youtube or Instagram.

Another extremely popular app that made the list was ‘CamScanner’, an app that allowed you to take a photo of any document and save it to your devices without a scanner. With a professional scanner not being a commonly owned item, CamScanner was a lifesaver for many. Students often used it to scan documents, notes, forms and more, making it essential for many. University Guidelines issued for the upcoming Open Book Exam (OBE) also lists CamScanner as a means for students to ‘scan’ their answer sheets and upload them to the portal.

Prachi, a second-year student from DU says:

“Honestly, as a student, I was a bit surprised in the beginning. My whole college life depended on CamScanner and it was a shock to me when I found out that it got banned. But soon I found other replacements for the same so it is not a big problem for me atleast. The bigger problem is the banning of tik tok for a lot of students. Students would make tik toks as a refreshment from their hectic college life, and it was a source of entertainment for a lot of us.”

One of the more notable apps that made the list was popular Mobile Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game, Mobile Legends. Many players were disappointed to hear that they would no longer be able to access their favourite game and that they would lose all their in-game progress.

Looking at the bigger picture, while this move in itself is not enough to make China economically retaliate. This move like most others under this regime seems like a hollow PR move to appease the Modi supporter, but what if China does decide to economically retaliate to the app ban or Boycott China? If China decides to Boycott India with its products, we would lose 20% of our auto components, 70% of electrical components, and 45% of consumer durables that we import. Similarly, Chinese investment and sponsors ( which ironically sponsor a lot of the channels screaming to Boycott China) would also leave. While it is impossible to predict whether this will have a positive or negative effect in the long run, what should be evident is that the regime has to avoid making knee jerk PR decisions to appease the public.

Featured Image Credits: The Quint

Prabhanu Kumar Das


Tashi Dorjay Sherpa



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