The sixth edition of Google for India event has kick-started virtually owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for Digital India, Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet, said that the country has made huge progress in getting Indians online. Now to help India become a leading digital economy, Sundar Pichai announced that the tech giant will invest Rs 75,000 crore ($10 billion) into India over the next 5-7 years.
The implementation of this Rs 75,000 crore Google for India Digitization Fund will be a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments. “This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy,” he added.
It was further revealed that these investments worth Rs 75,000 crore will focus on four areas important to India’s digitization:
- First, enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language, whether it’s Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi or any other
- Second, building new products and services that are deeply relevant to India’s unique needs
- Third, empowering businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation
- Fourth, leveraging technology and AI for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture
While addressing the Google for India 2020 event, Pichai stated, “One of the challenges of this moment is that we can’t visit the people we love, or the places we call home. During this time, the ability to be online has been a lifeline to so many of us: whether you’re a small business trying to stay afloat…a parent looking for updates on how to keep your family healthy … or a student trying to keep up with your studies. Being helpful in these moments is at the core of Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Currently, people in India no longer have to wait for technology to come to them as a whole new generation of technologies are emerging in India first. “It’s been incredible to see the rapid pace of change unfolding over my past few visits. From the excitement of young people using the latest apps and services, to the ways people are using smartphones to improve lives in rural villages, to the more than 2,500 Indian YouTube creators who each have over a million subscribers,” added Pichai.
Stating that just four years ago, only one-third of all small businesses in India had an online presence, Sundar Pichai informed that around 26 million SMBs are now discoverable on Search and Maps, driving connections with more than 150 million users every month. Besides this, he added that small merchants across the country are now equipped to accept digital payments. This has made it possible for more small businesses to become part of the formal economy, and it improves their access to credit. The COVID-19 pandemic has supercharged the adoption of digital tools. Google Digital payments, for example, have enabled families across India to access goods and services during lockdowns.
Pichai further added that people are currently facing a difficult moment in India and around the world. He concluded by stating that “The dual challenges to our health and to our economies have forced us to rethink how we work and how we live. But times of challenge can lead to incredible moments of innovation. Our goal is to ensure India not only benefits from the next wave of innovation, but leads it. Working together we can ensure that our best days are still ahead.”
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