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Google ready to help India implement PM Modi’s “Digital India” initiative

The Economic Times:  January, 2015

New Delhi: Google is ready to help India implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Digital India" initiative, and the government has a well laid out plan to realise it, said Google's Chief Internet Evangelist Vinton G. Cerf.

Cerf was speaking at a seminar organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry ( FICCI) here on Tuesday. "It is very clear that the private sector is going to have to play a major role, but it won't work unless basic infrastructure that government proposes to bring in is put into place," he said, adding that Google was in "early stage of discussion" to discuss ways to increase Internet penetration in the country.

Digital India is a Rs 1.13-lakh crore government initiative that seeks to transform the country into a connected economy, attract investment in electronics manufacturing, and create millions of jobs and support trade.

Cerf, a computer scientist widely known as one of the fathers of the Internet, said the new Indian government and its initiatives such as Digital India were "very refreshing and exciting".

He appreciated the government's plans to improve Internet infrastructure, especially its plans to expand Internet penetration in the villages.

"My impression after two days discussions is you (the government) already have a well laid out plan. Now you have to execute. The passion is clearly there, the energy is clearly there," he said.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted a picture of his meeting with Cerf earlier in the day. The senior Google executive also met some officers of the Department of Electronics and IT, and said they were convinced about making Digital India a reality.

Cerf also stressed the need for IT professionals to constantly upgrade their skills in order to remain relevant in the fast changing world of technology.