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What’s happening with digital public goods in India is phenomenal, says Satya Nadella

Microsoft Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella on Thursday highlighted the importance of digital public goods in India as he addressed a gathering of tech industry leaders, developers and startups at the Microsoft Future Ready Technology Summit in Bengaluru. 

Microsoft’s top boss said that the emphasis on building digital public goods in the country is something that he doesn’t see anywhere else in the world. “What’s happening with digital public goods in India is phenomenal,” he noted, adding that it is fantastic for India to lead and then contribute back to the world.

“It’s a virtuous cycle of digital public goods that raises the bar of private enterprise, increases competition, reduces transactional costs of the citizens of the country, and… a set of governance principles, policies that reinforce all of this,” Nadella elaborated.

In a fireside chat with Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder and Chairman of Infosys, and prominent Aadhaar architect, the Microsoft chief further discussed digital public goods in India and how they make it possible for a society and an economy to be more inclusive.

Nilekani said that the big vision is to leverage the power of technology to improve the life of people, bring economic growth, make more equitable, more inclusive, open access, and allow people to use their own data.

He further added that many of the digital public goods that have been created have aided several companies. For instance, firms like Jio and Zerodha used Aadhaar e-KYC for scaling their businesses.

Satya Nadella in a fireside chat with Nandan Nilekani. | Photo credit: Microsoft

Nadella, who kicked off his visit to India in Mumbai on January 3, said, “For me, perhaps my most mic-drop moment on this trip was what I saw with Bhashini.” It is a programme of the National Language Translation Mission.

“We are working with them [Bhashini] along with all the other mentors of this programme to enable essentially a digital public good around language translation so that everybody in India has the ability to tap into great AI models,” Nadell stated.

During the summit, Nadella shared his vision of how technology can shape the future of India and how the tech giant is partnering with Indian businesses to be future-ready. 

“We are making them in India so that others can Make in India, whether it is a small business out of Kolkata using it to scale to everywhere in India, or a public sector project like Bhashini, developing state-of-the-art AI to democratise language translation in India,” Nadella said, adding a number of other uses including for health and education outcomes that could be taken to other countries as well.

Earlier this week, while interacting with top business leaders, Nadella reinforced the digital imperative for every organisation and how the Microsoft Cloud can foster innovation, create broad economic progress, and accelerate the growth of businesses in India. 

He highlighted how the cloud will be foundational to scaling India’s digital journey and how Microsoft is innovating across the tech stack to support the country’s ecosystem of developers, startups and companies across every industry.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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