Google has announced a Google for India Digitization Fund. Making this announcement, Sundar Pichai, CEO, CEO, Google and Alphabet, said it will invest Rs 75,000 crore or $10 billion USD in India, investing in equity investments, partnerships, and operational infrastructure ecosystem industries. It will also make India a truly digital nation.
Sundar Pichai added that being helpful in these moments is the core of Google’s mission. We have also become very close to the families. Earlier, we had to wait for some new technology to arrive in India. Today, there has been a rapid pace of change. One of the most exciting success stories has been the digitisation of small business. Four years ago, only one-third of SMBs had an online presence. Now there are 26 million SMBs are discoverable on Google. Small merchants across the country are now equipped with digital. The global pandemic has supercharged the road to digital. All this progress could have been possible with the digital vision of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
Google has also been partnering India in its digital revolution since 2004. We have deepened the understanding of how technology can be helpful. A recent example is GPay. That makes it easier to pay the rickshawallah or your grandmother. Now, children can also learn to read languages across 180 countries. We have also suggested a few innovations for India. There is more work to be done to make the Internet affordable.
He added that Google has invested in many Indian businesses. We have also announded the Google for India Digitization Fund. We will do this with a mix of partnership, equity, etc. Investments will focus on areas such as the access to information, empowering businesses, leveraging AI for good, etc.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications, Electronics & IT, and Law & Justice, Government of India, said that Google is making a huge investment in India. Google has also been a leader in digital awakening. Today, Google has left its imprint across India.
He said: “I have seen the youth in villages doing a Google Search. India is an open society, focusing on digital transformation. The way Indian digital ecosystem has come up is revealing. From Aadhar, to UPI, to GSTN, to Aayushmaan Bharat, all are working digital platforms. There is immense scope for Google to take new initiatives in weather prediction, healthcare, digital education, etc.”
Today, lot of people are using Google Maps. Now, India is craving for more. Digital skilling, skill mapping, digital literacy, etc., are the initiatives that need to be properly exploited. The new fund can be used in many different ways. Indian entrepreneurs have also been asked to build new apps. We now need to upload the apps that are made in India. Digital villages are also very important for us. We can develop them as powerful villages. All these are waiting to be tapped.
Caesar Sengupta, VP of Payments and Next Billion Users, Google, added that we need to work hard for everyone. Android is a powerful example. Today, there are over 2 billion active devices. India is today the second largest mobile phone manufacturing country in the world. Android has contributed to 1.6 billion jobs in India. We have partnered with many Indian manufacturers. We will continue to focus on more economically available smartphones.
Every Indian business must be a digital business today. There are 150+ million digital connections being driven every month. Kirana stores are able to start accepting digital payments. We are fully committed to serve. We introduced the Spot platform on Google Play. Dunzo has enabled delivery of nearly everything.
In March 2020, the Spot platform enabled people to discover shops near them. The Jobs spot is seeing that demand for labour has increased. Individuals and businesses need to master new skills. Small businesses can use Grow With Google. We have a partnership with Prasar Bharati for an edutainment program. Helping people go digital and connect with jobs are just two initiatives.
Sapna Chadha, Senior Country Marketing Director, Google, said that as a parent, finding ways to continue education has been tough in these times. Over 320 million students have been impacted with school closures. There is need for tools and resources that address the teaching needs. We have Google Classroom and more. We have Google Meet, which is free for everyone till September 2020. In a few weeks, Google Classroom helped move classes online.
There is also quality of digital content. A/V content has created interest. There is need for more. We have granted $12 million to various organizations, like Pratham, etc. At least 64% of children have shown improvement. We have increased the Read Along to several other countries. We also have a partnership with CBSE. This will enable blended learning with classroom learning. We would like to thank Manoj Ahuja, Chairman, CBSE. We have also announced a grant of $1 million. We have more to do to bridge the digital divide.
Ramesh Pokhriyal, Minister of HRD complimented this as a great initiative by Google. Today, people are stuck in their homes. Online and digital are taking us forward. It is important for us to strengthen the pathways. Make in India, Startup India, Standup India, etc., are some initiatives. In future, they will all become stronger. Google has also given the educators a platform for skilling teachers. Sundar Pichai, of IIT Kharagpur, is making India proud all over the world.
India has to face the challenges strongly and boldly. There is one nation, one digital platform. We also have E-pathshala. We have over 14,000 AV files. We are also focused on training students sitting anywhere. We want Google to further proceed on the path of digitization, and make India a knowledge superpower. We have great confidence that Google will succeed. I would request Sundar Pichai to also include the constitutional 22 languages as well.
Sanjay Gupta, Google India head and VP, Google, noted that Google has worked with the Internet Sathi across 50,000 villages. We also started Read Along, YouTube Learning, etc. We connected the delivery app of Swiggy. India kickstarted the economy to keep our people safe.
We need to solve the challenges businesses face today. We need to create job opportunities for the young Indians. All of us can play a transformational role. This role of digital trransformatiion for India is exciting. When we solve for India, we solve for the world. This is our committment to India.