Google to pump in Rs 75,000crore to help India go digital

New Delhi, Jul 13 (IANS): Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday announced a Google for India Digitisation Fund through which the company will invest Rs 75,000 crore, or approximately $10 billion, over the next five to seven years to drive digital transformation in the country.

"We'll do this through a mix of equity investments, partnership investments, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy," Pichai said during the Google for India virtual conference.

The fund will focus on four areas that are important to India's digitisation.

These include enabling affordable access to the internet and to information for every Indian in their own language and building new products and services that are deeply relevant to India's unique needs including consumer tech, education, health and agriculture.

The Google for India Digitisation Fund will also focus on empowering businesses especially small and medium businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation.

Another area of focus will be leveraging technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for social good, including digital literacy, outbreak predictions, and support for rural economies, Pichai said.

Giving a special address at the event, India's Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressed hope that with this new fund, Google will also focus on promoting the country's startups further.

"There is immense scope for Google to deploy artificial intelligence and undertake new initiatives in the field of agriculture, weather prediction, healthcare in the wake of Covid-19 challenges and most importantly in digital education," Prasad said.

"Today, India's app economy is growing very powerfully, but we must not just download apps. It is important also to upload apps from India," the IT minister noted.

Google also announced new initiatives as part of its ongoing efforts towards the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Now more than ever, to survive and grow, every Indian business must be a digital business. And we are investing in helping Indian businesses go digital and helping Indian workers learn, grow and find better jobs," said Caesar Sengupta, GM & VP of Payments and Next Billion Users, Google.

He 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.

Talking about the "Spot Platform" on Google Pay, he shared that the Google Pay Nearby Stores Spot which was introduced in March this year to improve offline merchant discoverability and to help people find shops near them to see what essential food items are in stock, has been used by more than two million users.

To support people who are looking for work, he shared that the Job Spot on Google Pay, now allows for remote interviews and remote work listings so that people who are unemployed can secure employment and income more quickly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Google also announced a partnership with CBSE to train over one 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, YouTube and more.

To support underserved low-income communities, Sapna Chadha, Senior Country Marketing Director, Southeast Asia & India, also announced a new grant of $1 million to Kaivalya Education Foundation (KEF) as part of the Global Distance Learning Fund.

Using these funds, the KEF will work with the Central Square Foundation and TeacherApp to train 700,000 teachers to deliver virtual education for students so that they can continue learning at home over mass media such as TV and radio, wherever smartphones or internet access are not available.

"Google's efforts to bring technology and thereby, knowledge and learning to students in every part of the country is commendable," Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Union Human Resources Development Minister, said while speaking at the event.

"The Internet has emerged as a lifeline during the pandemic, which needs to be strengthened and we welcome Google's initiatives like free access to learning resources, as well as their collaboration with CBSE to train 1 million teachers on tech-enabled education," he said.

At the event, Google also shared updates on the work it has been doing since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in India.

Google said it has seen over two billion searches on Covid, across different languages on Google platforms in the last two months.

The Google CEO on Monday also interacted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a wide range of subjects, particularly leveraging the power of technology to transform the lives of India's farmers, youngsters and entrepreneurs.

In the virtual meeting with Pichai, the Prime Minister also discussed the new work culture that is emerging during the Covid-19 crisis.

"This morning, (I) had an extremely fruitful interaction with Sundar Pichai. We spoke on a wide range of subjects, particularly leveraging the power of technology to transform the lives of India's farmers, youngsters and entrepreneurs," Modi said in a series of tweets.


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Comment on this article

  • Ramesh Kumar Nanjundaiya, Sunnyvale, California, USA

    Wed, Jul 15 2020

    Google - Excellent initiative. How will the job markets behave due to the current Covid19 pandemic, in this period of ongoing Industry 4.0 affecting the market and the economy next year and beyond. Recently the IMF projected a 3% drop in the global economy this year and its repercussions going forward. Lately, the higher education system in both the developed and developing economies globally has undertaken some hectic short term change management resulting in a major paradigm shift in higher education via shifting to online classes. The impact has been simply dramatic all across the globe and for all levels of education notwithstanding the various challenges being faced including infrastructure, connectivity, communication, navigating new online learning platforms, student engagement, and financing. It is generally understood that Universities across the globe with mature college students hopefully can undertake the rigors of online education and students are savvy enough to engage themselves to learn. What roles are Universities playing in providing timely, cost-effective learning technology on such a large scale so that the student not only learns but can enter the dynamic job market confidently and contribute to the economy is the moot point? This is certainly not easy to assess in the current covid19 driven VUCA world where video-conferencing apps as Zoom and Webex and Coursera are assisting Universities with a doable stop-gap option to imparting education at Universities.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Arthur, Mangalore

    Tue, Jul 14 2020

    The Chinese have closed their domestic market to allow Chinese companies to thrive in China. THE US and Europe are mature economies with little prospect for growth. American companies like Google, Amazon and Walmart have only the Indian market left for future growth.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • smr, Karkala

    Tue, Jul 14 2020

    The much talked 'Digital India' of PM Modi's dream project now made India bonded labor to United States from China.

    How does foreign companies investment in India, acquiring land on cheap price and using India's manpower paying peanut and taking maximum profit is called 'Make in India'?

    The state owned BSNL and MTNL made go in losses. Now reliance owned by Ambani's opened the door for FDI which profited the foreign companies rather than India.

    Is this called 'swadeshi movement' aspired by father of the nation Mahatama Gandhi?

    Jai Hind

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Sundar Pichai is smart & will not allow this money to go to PM Cares Fund ...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Let us put this in perspective.

    It was the Gujju-bhai who made the call. Naturally Google responded with an EYE-POPPING offer...

    ..the amount is supposed to be spread over 5 to 7 years.

    If Google comes in, won't it kill a few "Made in India" businesses?

    So what is going to happen to the "Make in India" and "Made in India"?

    I keep saying that the present Government has turned upside down India's hopes of becoming a self-sufficient country. Google is a foreign company.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Steven Lewis, Oman

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Education market !!!!

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shankar, Mangaluru

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Modi does wonders!

    DisAgree [9] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse


    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    No one else could have --------- the economy better than Modi

    DisAgree [2] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse


Title : Google to pump in Rs 75,000crore to help India go digital


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