Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s big pitch for “Digital India” finds immediate takers in Silicon Valley

Sunday, Sep 27, 2015,12:07 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

San Jose | Mr Modi said Digital India is an enterprise to transform India in a scale unmatched anywhere in the world and it has the potential to make development truly inclusive. Digital India is an enterprise for India’s transformation on a scale that is, perhaps, unmatched in human history, he said.

”We will promote manufacturers of quality products,” the Prime Minister said addressing top honchos over dinner in the world’s IT hub on the second leg of his second visit to the US. He laid out his vision of “Digital India” to top American CEOs which included John Chambers of Cisco, Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai of Google and Shantanu Narayen of Adobe.

Mr Modi’s effort to attract large scale investments in Digital India initiative from Silicon Valley giants found an immediate resonance as mobile technology provider Qualcomm’s Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs announced a 150 million dollar fund for start up in India. Others like Google’s Pichai, Microsoft’s Nadella shared their vision and detailed out what role India will play in the future of technology. Stressing on the need of extensive use of technology, Mr Modi said, in this digital age, we have the power to change life in a way that was hard to believe.

Citing examples of influence of internet technology on day to day life, Mr Modi said, the status that now matters is not whether you are awake or asleep, but whether you are online or offline. The most fundamental debate for our youth is the choice between Android, iOS anf Windows, which was met with a loud applause from the gathering.

Detailing his vision, he said digital technology had been used by his government to launch several schemes of financial inclusion and today the poor were provided banking insurance and pension delivery by using this technology. We have countered poverty by using the power of networks and mobile phones to launch a new era of empowerment and inclusion.180 million new bank accounts, in a few months, direct transfer of benefits to the poor, funds for the unbanked, insurance within the reach of the poorest, and pension for the sunset years for all, Mr Modi said.

Mr Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Silicon Valley in more than three decades, said his government wants paperless transactions. We would set up digital locker for every citizen to share documents across departments, he said.

I want our 1.25 billion citizens to be digitally connected, Mr Modi said, describing the steps taken by his government towards broadband connectivity. I see technology as a means to empower and as a tool that bridges the distance between hope and opportunity, he added. In this digital age, we have an opportunity to transform lives of people in ways that was hard to imagine just a couple of decades ago, the Prime Minister said.

From large corporate to young professionals in this great center of innovation, each can be part of India story, he said. Building upon that vision, we conceive of Digital India, to fundamentally transform the way our nation will work, the Prime Minister said.