Union IT and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that India’s app economy was growing very powerfully, “but we must not just download apps, it is important also to upload apps from India.” Prasad made these comments during the sixth edition of Google for India virtual event while welcoming Google’s “fairly substantial” investment, vis a vis its Google for India Digitisation Fund, to aid India’s digital transformation.
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has announced a $10 billion (roughly Rs 75,000 crore) Google for India Digitisation Fund to help accelerate India’s digital economy. Google plans to make this investment over the next 5-7 years through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments.
“India today is seeking to transform the life of Indians with the power of technology, and I am very happy that Google is rising to the occasion by trying to invest a fairly substantial amount in India’s digital transformation. This digital transformation emphasises upon digital inclusion and overcoming the digital divide. I’m very happy that Google is recognising India’s digital innovation and the need to create further opportunity. There is immense scope for Google to deploy artificial intelligence and undertake new initiatives in the field of agriculture, weather prediction, healthcare in the wake of COVID-19 challenges and most importantly in digital education,” Prasad said.
India’s growing “app economy” are the big keywords here. This is because the government of India is currently in the midst of its biggest push for homegrown mobile apps. Only recently, it kicked off the “Digital India Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Innovate Challenge” to identify the best Indian apps that are already available for use and scale them to world-class standards.
Ban on numerous Chinese apps has seen many Indian developers swoop in to attract users and with the new innovation challenge, the government is looking to boost their morale while also giving India’s app ecosystem a major shot in the arm.
Google’s investment will help enable affordable access to information in local languages, build new products and services relevant to the country’s unique needs, empower businesses and leverage AI for social good in areas like health, education, and agriculture. “I am sure with this new fund, Google will also focus on promoting our startups further,” Prasad added.