The Minister shared with Shri Nadella the initiative of Digital India taken by this government headed by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. He told the Microsoft CEO that Digital India is designed to bridge the gap between haves and have-nots. The government is committed to roll out the National Fiber Optical Network (NOFN) and digitally connect all the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats of India. 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. Government is augmenting its network of 1.5 lakh Post Offices to spur the growth in eCommerce. 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. To this Mr. Nadella informed the Minster about various initiative taken by Microsoft for promoting digital literacy like project Shiksha, project Jyoti, project Saksham etc.
The Microsoft CEO expressed the commitment of his company towards empowering people. He said that what differentiates Microsoft from other companies is the fact that it makes stakeholders to do things or it empowers people to do things. He said that Microsoft wants to transform in accordance with aspirations of people of India. He was very encouraged by the Digital Locker initiative of the government and felt that this project can benefit from Microsoft facilities. He further added that the debate about open source and others platforms is not a hurdle anymore. Applications developed in open source can also run on Microsoft cloud. Mr. Nadella further added that Microsoft 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.
Mr. Nadella shared his ideas on modernization of government with the Minister. He felt that Microsoft can help in building secure government controlled digital infrastructure. He wanted the government to take advantage of the cloud services being offered by Microsoft in India. He suggested that Microsoft can do a pilot in this area with the government. He stated that Microsoft wants to serve to the digital sovereignty needs of governments. To this the Minister raised the issue of data security and stated that the data of 1.27 billion people is a big asset and its safety is a prime concern for the government. Microsoft must address this concern. Mr. Nadella told the Minister that Microsoft understands and respects these concerns. Microsoft will place the servers in India and also assist the government in providing technological wherewithal for securing this huge data.
The Minister also informed the Microsoft CEO about the incentives for promoting electronic manufacturing in India as a part of Make in India. Mr. Nadella felt that data centre investment is a great opportunity in India and Microsoft will consider about electronic manufacturing with this perspective.