Google, Tata Trusts expand 'Internet Saathi' in TN to empower women

Continuing with their digital literacy initiative aimed at empowering women in villages, Google India and Tata Trusts on Wednesday announced the expansion of their 'Internet Saathi' programme in Tamil Nadu.

"Google India is a valuable partner of the state of Tamil Nadu and we are happy to launch the Internet Saathi programme that will benefit rural women across our state," said M Manikandan, minister for information technology, Tamil Nadu.

The Internet Saathi programme was launched as a pilot in Rajasthan in July 2015. In Tamil Nadu, the programme will cover over 4,000 villages across six districts, Google India said in a statement. On the same day, Google India and the Tamil Nadu government also announced other initiatives to support digitisation efforts in the state, including provision of technical mentorship and advisory support to various startups through the company's Developer Relations team.

The company said it will also facilitate Google Cloud credits startups in the state. "We believe all the initiatives launched today with them (Google India) that will benefit women, small businesses, youth, and others across our state. Our mission is to Digitise Tamil Nadu and Google's efforts in the state will help in the same direction," Manikandan said.

The two sides also agreed to work together to make all government sites mobile friendly, introduce joint programmes to help local small and medium businesses get online, and internet safety education for children.

"Google India is pleased to work with the government of Tamil Nadu in its efforts to making Tamil Nadu a truly digitally empowered state," said Chetan Krishnaswamy, director, public policy, Google India. "We have been hard at work, in partnership with Tata Trusts, to change the female-male ratio of new internet users in rural India and in the last two years have seen it move from one in 10 in 2015 to three in 10 in 2017," Krishnaswamy added.