Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google Inc | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai | David Paul Morris | Bloomberg
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Delhi: Technology giant Google Monday announced an investment of Rs 75,000 crore to boost India’s digital economy.

At the online edition of the annual ‘Google for India’ event, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced the ‘Google for India Digitisation Fund’.

“Through this effort, we will invest 75,000 crore rupees or approximately 10 billion dollars into India over the next 5 to 7 years. We will do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships and ecosystem investments,” he said.

“As we make these investments, we look forward to working alongside Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government as well as Indian businesses of all sizes to realise their shared vision for a Digital India,” Pichai added.

Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, present at the online event, welcomed the investment. “I’m very happy to learn that Google is making a huge investment in the Google India digitisation fund,” he said. 

The investment will not only boost India’s digital growth, but will further promote Google’s own products such as its payment service Google Pay as more small businesses learn to conduct business using the internet. Other Google products that stand to benefit from the investment will be services like Google Search, and futuristic technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), where Google is making headway.

Also read: Google, Amazon funnel over $20 million to sites spreading coronavirus conspiracies

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Investment to focus on four areas

Stating that this is a reflection of “our confidence and the future of India and its digital economy”, Pichai said Google’s investments will focus on four areas that are important to India’s digitisation.

“First, enabling affordable access and information to 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.” 

‘Will appreciate if Google develops model Digital Villages’

During his address, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad indicated that he would like Google to get more involved in driving India’s digital growth, in addition to its current work in the country.

“I was very much impressed by some of the products of Google like warnings about floods, like Google maps… also translation work of Indian languages. These are good innovations,” he said.

“Digital Village is something very close to my heart. One lakh Digital Villages, we have to set up,” he said.

“I would appreciate if Google picks up a good number of clusters [of] villages in India in various parts and develops it as a model Digital Villages of empowerment, of skilling, healthcare, of telemedicine…” Prasad added.

During the event, the minister also encouraged Indian entrepreneurs to develop digital products.

“India’s app economy is growing very powerfully,” he said, but added that India should not just download apps as “it is also important to upload apps made in India”. “These are opportunities waiting to be tapped,” the minister said.

Also read: Facebook close to launching WhatsApp payment service in India


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