Digital India: Google Focusing On SMEs, Local Content

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 06, 2015

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Search giant Google is engaged in various initiatives under the government’s ‘Digital India’ campaign. The company is reportedly focusing on key areas like bringing more Indian language content online and helping 20 million small and medium enterprises set up Internet presence by 2017. Google also launched a special program called ‘Internet Saathi’ to bring more women online, along with Tata Trusts.

Google is already working with MyGov.in, Department of IT, Ministry of Culture and many state governments for initiatives aimed at promoting adoption of Internet amongst women, promoting digital literacy and Internet safety. The tech giant is looking to bring 50 million women online.

The objective of the ‘Internet Saathi’ program is to empower rural women and their communities by enabling them to use Internet in their daily lives. The programme aims to provide basic training on the usage of Internet and its benefits by use of specially designed Internet cycle carts. These cycle carts will visit villages to provide access.

“India has 300 million users and 6-7 million users are being added each month. While 50% women in urban India use the Internet, this number is very low for rural women,” said Rajan Anandan, managing director, south-east Asia and India, Google.
 
The program will be launched in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jharkhand where Internet carts will be available in villages for a minimum of two days every week for 4-6 months. The aim is to reach out to 4,500 villages and 500,000 women by the end of 2016, according to a company statement.
 
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed to invest Rs 4.5 lakh crore for the ambitious ‘Digital India’ program that aims to provide telephony and fast Internet for all the government, the tech giant announced its big focus is on 4 key projects. Anandan said to PTI, These include bringing more Indian language content online, help get 20 million SMBs online by 2017, making high-quality, affordable smartphones available to as many people as possible and bringing India’s rich cultural heritage online.
 
He stated that Internet today is still predominantly an English only medium in India. But many of the next 100 to 200 million Indians who come online won’t speak English. Anandan told the agency that the company is working with 30 partners on the Indian Language Internet Alliance (ILIA) to make the web more useful to Indic language speakers.
 
Google also believes SMEs are the backbone of Indian economy. While target is to help get 20 million SMEs online by 2017 is a challenging task, Anandan told the agency, “We need to set aggressive timelines for the ambitious projects - becoming a true broadband nation should be a key priority”
 
The company is also waiting for a well-defined processes and guidelines that are aligned with international standards for entrepreneurs to truly achieve India’s full potential.