Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai on Monday announced a $10 billion (approximately Rs 75,000 crore) fund to help accelerate India’s digital economy. The company will invest the money in next five to seven years, Pichai said.
“Today, I’m excited to announce the Google for India Digitization Fund,” he said at the Google for India event. “Through this effort, we will invest Rs 75,000 crore, or approximately $10 billion, into India over the next five-seven years. We will do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy.”
Pichai’s announcement came at a time when the Indian economy is battered by one of the strictest lockdowns in the world to rein in the coronavirus pandemic. Since early June, the government has started easing restrictions to help revive the economy, even though the number of infections in the country continues to rise.
The 48-year-old CEO said he looked forward to work alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian government to achieve the shared vision of Digital India. “There’s no question we are facing a difficult moment today, in India and around the world,” Pichai added. “The dual challenges to our health and to our economies have forced us to rethink how we work and how we live. But times of challenge can lead to incredible moments of innovation. Our goal is to ensure India not only benefits from the next wave of innovation, but leads it. Working together we can ensure that our best days are still ahead.”
Meanwhile, Modi said he had an “extremely fruitful interaction” with Pichai on Monday morning. “We spoke on a wide range of subjects, particularly leveraging the power of technology to transform the lives of India’s farmers, youngsters and entrepreneurs,” Modi said in a series of tweets. “We discussed the challenges the global pandemic has brought to areas such as sports. We also talked about the importance of data security and cyber safety.”
The prime minister added that they also discussed the new work culture that has emerged because of the pandemic. “I was delighted to know more about the efforts of Google in several sectors, be it in education, learning, digital India, furthering digital payments and more,” he said.