PM Modi appreciates Google’s proactive role

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has given a big boost to India’s investment seeking efforts in a depressed global economy by announcing Rs.75,000 crore Fund to help accelerate the adoption of digital technologies in the country over the next 5-7 years.

Pichai held a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 13 July 2020 and announced Rs.75,000 crore ‘Google for India Digitization Fund’ via video conference, asserting that the investment is a reflection of Google’s confidence in the future of the country and its budding digital economy.

The India-born Pichai noted the emergence of a whole new generation of technologies in India first, which means the Indians no longer need to wait for technology to come to them from the developed world as has happened forever in the past.

Google is committed to ensuring that India not only benefits from the next wave of innovation but in fact leads it, he stressed.

“We will invest Rs.75,000 crore, or approximately US$10 billion, in India over the next 5-7 years… through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments,” Pichai said.

The investment focus will be on India’s digitisation, including enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language, be it Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi or any other.

The focus will also be on building new products and services relevant to India’s unique needs, empowering businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation, and leveraging technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for social good, in areas such as health, education, and agriculture.

Addressing the ‘Google for India’ event, Pichai noted that India’s digital journey is far from complete.

“There’s still more work to do in order to make the internet affordable and useful for a billion Indians…from improving voice input and computing for all of India’s languages to inspiring and supporting a whole new generation of entrepreneurs,” he said.

Pichai counted digitisation of small businesses as one of the most exciting success stories and noted 26 million small and medium-sized businesses are now discoverable on search and maps, driving connections with more than 150 million users every month.

“What’s more, small merchants across the country are now equipped to accept digital payments,” he observed.

Low-cost smartphones, combined with affordable data and strong telecom infrastructure, have ushered new opportunities in the country, noted Pichai.

Building products for India first has helped Google build better products for users everywhere, he informed.

Google also announced a new initiative with Prasar Bharati, launching an edutainment series on Doordarshan on how small businesses can adopt digital tools and adapt to the current situation, using examples of real-life Indian businesses.

Google also announced a partnership with CBSE to train over 1 million teachers in 22,000 schools across India by the end of 2020, to deliver blended learning that combines the classroom approach with online learning, using free tools like G Suite for Education, Google Classroom, and YouTube.

To support underserved low-income communities, it has also announced a new Google.org grant of US$1 million to the Kaivalya Education Foundation (KEF) as part of the Global Distance Learning Fund.

Pichai also briefed the Prime Minister about the efforts undertaken by Google to help spread awareness and provide reliable information about COVID-19.

The Prime Minister appreciated the proactive role played by Google in battling misinformation and conveying information about necessary precautions. He also talked about further leveraging technology in providing healthcare services.

Modi told Pichai that Indians are adjusting to and adopting technology at a rapid pace, especially farmers are benefiting from technology and the possible wide-ranging benefits of AI in agriculture.

Prime Minister explored the idea of virtual labs that can be used by students as well as farmers.

Pichai highlighted Google’s new products and initiatives in the country and mentioned about the launch of AI Research Lab in Bengaluru, while also highlighting the benefits of Google’s flood forecasting efforts.

The Prime Minister also discussed with Pichai the issue of data security and concerns around privacy and told him that that tech companies need to put in efforts to bridge the trust deficit.

Modi and Pichai also talked about cyber attacks technological solutions to expand the scope of online education, access to technology in the native language, use of AR/VR to give a stadium-like viewing experience in the field of sports, and progress in the area of digital payments. #Google #PMO #Pichai #Modi #technology #AI #IoT #cyber /fiinews.com

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