08:02 GMT07 April 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Keeping in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on adopting digital technologies, the government aims to connect over 100,000 rural councils or “gram panchayats” in India, with high-speed fibre-to-home internet between 2020-2021.

    Moving forward to embrace digital technology, Indian Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday met Satya Nadella, the CEO of international software giant Microsoft in New Delhi. On the occasion, the federal minister proposed that Microsoft adopt some Indian villages and empower them digitally, media reported.

    Minister Prasad also initiated discussions concerning the Indian government's recently passed data localisation requirement, which stipulates that foreign companies store the sensitive data of Indians within the country's limits, despite reluctance from the US.

    Microsoft's Indian-origin CEO arrived in India on 24 February for a three-day trip, and he visited the three cities of Mumbai, Bengaluru, and New Delhi. |He addressed the "Future Decoded CEO Summits" – where industry leaders discussed technological advancements that are foreseeable in the next ten years.

    On the day of Nadella's homecoming, Microsoft announced a new initiative aimed at empowering 100 business-to-business Indian startups with 100 investor companies, all roped in to commit $100,000 each to budding firms within 18 months.

    Currently, India has over 493 million Internet users. As part of its "Digital India Initiative", the government is pushing Indians to explore daily-use cases for the internet and smartphones.

    In the coming years, Prime Minister Modi aims to create a Cloud-first approach towards digitally transforming the country.

    Earlier in February, when Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the annual 2020-2021 budget in Parliament, she suggested the construction of data centre parks across the country, to fuel advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computing, and data storage in India.

    The focus this year, is to connect all public institutions, including police stations, schools, and post offices via high-speed internet, particularly in rural areas, the minister noted.

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    Tags:
    Narendra Modi, villages, digital, Satya Nadella, Microsoft, India
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