Microsoft CEO Nadella meets PM, seeks to partner ‘Digital India’

27 Dec 2014


Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, meeting Modi for a second time as technology executives, including Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, push for a larger share of the Indian market.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with Prime Minister Narendra ModiThe head of the world's biggest software company said Microsoft is looking forward to be a partner in the government's 'digital India' and 'Make in India' programmes.

''It's always fantastic for me personally to be in India and the conversation I had with the minister was wide ranging,'' the Indian-origin Nadella said in New Delhi after meeting the union minister for communications and information technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad.

''I have an aspiration that in this mobile and cloud world, we can empower every individual citizen of India and every business organisation and institution in India to be able to try with new technology. So I am looking forward to be a part of both the Digital India and Make in India,'' he added.

Hyderabad-born Nadella also said, ''We are making huge investments in our data centres in particular, which we think can empower organizations in this country to be world class with the access to great technology.''

He told reporters after the meeting, ''I have requested him [Modi] to consider electronic manufacturing in India. I have also suggested that Microsoft has a great profile in the field of social services, and digital literacy can be promoted. We had a very purposeful exchange. I am very happy and I warmly welcome him.''

Minister for communications and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad told Nadella during the meeting that `Digital India' is designed to bridge the gap between haves and have-nots. The government is also committed to roll out the National Fiber Optical Network (NOFN) and digitally connect all the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats of India, he said.

The government is pushing for setting up WiFi networks at public places, universities and tourist places. The minister shared with him India's potential in the field of e-commerce and how connectivity can play a role in harnessing this potential.

The government is augmenting its network of 1.5 lakh post offices to spur the growth in e-commerce.

Besides, he said the government is committed towards digital empowerment of citizens through the National Digital Literacy Mission and Common Service Centers.

The minister shared his dream of seeing digitally empowered women from the Dalit community running Common Service Centers. He requested Microsoft to contribute in making this dream true. The minister further urged Microsoft to work toward digital literacy in India.

The Microsoft CEO expressed the commitment of his company towards empowering people. He said, unlike other companies Microsoft makes stakeholders to do things or it empowers people to do things.

He allayed fears of Microsoft being a hurdle for open source technologies and said applications developed in open source can also run on Microsoft cloud.

Microsoft, he said, was keen on collaborating with the government in providing last mile internet connectivity especially through the White-Fi technology.

The minister felt that Microsoft can do a pilot on this before rolling it out.

Nadella pushed his ideas on modernization of government with the minister and offered to help in building secure government controlled digital infrastructure using the cloud services being offered by Microsoft in India.

Since the issue involved the safety and security of data of 1.27 billion people, which is of prime concern for the government, the minister told Nadella that Microsoft must address this concern.

The minister also informed the Microsoft CEO about the incentives for promoting electronic manufacturing in India as a part of Make in India. Nadella felt that data centre investment is a great opportunity in India and Microsoft will consider about electronic manufacturing with this perspective.

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