Industrialists give Modi’s billion-dollar Digital India project a big thumbs up


Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be on cloud nine as his idea of empowering the country digitally has got thumbs up from India’s top industrialists including Mistry, Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Sunil Bharti Mittal. The industrialists believe, it has the potential to bridge the digital divide and benefit billions of people through digital solutions in education, healthcare and irrigation sectors, according to a news report in The Economic Times.

At the unveiling of the Digital India Week by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India's top billionaires pledged around Rs 4.5 lakh crore to projects related to Digital India, which could generate employments for some 18 lakh people. "Digital India will help India to create a knowledgeable society and will provide government services within a short time," Cyrus Mistry, chairman of Tata Sons told the ET.

He said Tata Consultancy Services, which is majority owned by the Tata Group, has been an active contributor to e-governance programmes and the company will hire 60,000 IT professionals this year.

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said his company would invest Rs 2.5 lakh crore across different Digital India heads, which have the potential to create employment for over five lakh people. The financial daily quoted Ambani saying, "Normally, industry moves faster than government but with Digital India it is different. I have no hesitation in saying that government has moved faster."
He also announced setting up of the 'Jio Digital India Start Up Fund' to encourage young entrepreneurs who are setting up businesses focused around the Digital India initiative.

The Rs 1.13-lakh-crore Digital India project is aimed at broadening digital access for all Indians and making sure that government functions and services are available online to citizens.

"I dream of Digital India where 1.2 billion connected Indians drive the nation," Prime Minister said at the launch of the Digital India Week, which will take technology to the villages and block levels over the course of the next week.

Appreciating the PM's vision for a digitally empowered economy, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said Modi "understands the power of technology and how it can transform the nation". Mittal said his company would build on India's existing extensive telecom network and spend over Rs 1 lakh crore in the next five years. Bharti group company Bharti Airtel is India's largest mobile phone operator.

Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani, who helms Airtel's rival telco Reliance Communications, pledged to invest Rs 10,000 crore to fund transformational initiatives across the cloud, digital and telecom space.

"The Great India Story has been powered by three long-term drivers: democracy, demographics and demand. A little over a year ago, we added a fourth 'D', which is perhaps even more important: decisiveness," he told the ET, adding that 'Digital India' would add the fifth dimension.

(Image: Thinkstock)
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