At a virtual interaction with Primer Minister Narendra Modi via video conference, Google CEO Sundar Pichai appreciated the prime minister's leadership skills in order to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Pichai said that the modi-led government's lockdown implementation set up a very strong foundation of India’s battle against the pandemic. He briefed the prime minister about the efforts undertaken by Google to help spread awareness and provide reliable information about Covid-19.
Modi, on the other hand, 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 said that Indians are adjusting to and adopting technology at a rapid pace. He talked about farmers benefiting from technology and the possible wide-ranging benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in agriculture. He also explored the idea of virtual labs that can be used by students as well as farmers.
To that, Pichai briefed the PM about new products and initiatives by Google in the country. He mentioned about the launch of AI Research Lab in Bengaluru, while also highlighting the benefits of Google's flood forecasting efforts. Along with that, Pichai also informed Modi about Google’s plan to launch a large investment fund and develop strategic partnerships in India, according to an official release.
Furthermore, Prime Minister discussed the issue of data security and concerns around privacy. He said that tech companies need to put in efforts to bridge the trust deficit. He also talked about cyber crimes and threats in the form of cyber attacks. Other areas of discussion included technological solutions to expand the scope of online education, access to technology in 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.
In a major initiative from Google, Pichai on Monday announced an investment of ₹75,000 crore in India over the next 5-7 years through 'Google for India Digitisation Fund'.
Addressing Google for India event, Pichai asserted that the latest move is a reflection of the company's confidence in future of India and its digital economy.
"Today, I am excited to announce Google for India digitisation fund. Through this effort, we will invest ₹75,000 crore or $10 billion in India for next 5-7 years," Pichai said.
Investments will focus on four key areas of India's digitisation, he said.
Google said the investments would focus on several key areas:
- Enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language, including Hindi, Tamil or Punjabi
- Building new products and services that are relevant to India’s unique needs
- Empowering businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation
- Leveraging technology and artificial intelligence for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture