Google, in its first virtual ‘Google for India Event 2020’, has given some surprises. The major one is the investment of Rs 75,000 crore (approx. $10 Billion) announced by CEO Sundar Pichai under the ‘Google for India Digitalization Fund’ for the Indian start-up ecosystem in the next 5-7 years.
“Today, I’m excited to announce the Google for India Digitization Fund. Through this effort, we will invest 75,000 crores, or approximately $10 billion, into India over the next 5-7 years,” said Pichai at the Google for India event.
Pichai added that Google will invest funds through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure, and ecosystem investments. He said that the fund is a reflection of Google’s confidence in the future of India and its growing digital economy.
He listed four important investments which the fund will focus upon, they are as follows :
- Enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in local Indian languages
- Building new products and services that are deeply relevant to India’s unique needs
- Empowering businesses with their digital transformation
- Leveraging technology and AI for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture
Google did not reveal when or how it will start releasing the funds. The company only talked about the target areas of the fund.
In further announcements, Google said it had partnered with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to introduce more than 1 million teachers across 22,000 schools in India. Under this partnership, teachers will be able to use G Suite products such as Google Meets, Google Classrooms, etc to continue online teaching for students.
Google announced its plan to partner with Prasar Bharti for the creation of an ‘Edutainment’ series mainly for small and medium businesses in India, who use digital solutions for the development of their business.
Google Vice President Caesar Sengupta quoted an ICEA report, according to which Android contributed 1.6 million jobs in India. He said 26 million small and medium businesses in India are now online and searchable on Google search.
Sengupta added that the Google Pay business version is being used by more than 3 million merchants in India. In addition, 2 million people use Google Pay’s ‘Nearby Store’ feature in India.
Major announcements at the event come at a time when the country is in dire need of resources. The pandemic has affected the over-economic indicators which resulted in loss of hope among investors abroad. The digitalization fund will boost the confidence of investors.
Many big Indian start-ups are now facing a hard time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have run out of cash while others are operating with less cash. A FICCI report suggests that Indian start-ups have opted for lay-offs and also continue running operations. Amid such times, the announced funding will boost the start-up ecosystem.
Google has always tried to come up with initiatives for ordinary people so that they can profit from digital resources. Schools are shut in rural parts of India as they can’t upgrade to online teaching. This new initiative to support the growth of online teaching will help teachers and schools who lack the funds to upgrade.