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Google and India to work together on a digital society

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA/USA - July 14, 2014: Exterior view of a Google headquarters building. Google is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and productsGoogle and India will cooperate to create a ‘Digital India’ – with healthcare playing a role. 

The initiative – a collaboration announced by the internet giant and the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) – will reach out to students of engineering to create digital technology solutions to pressing social issues, including health. “I am delighted that Ministry of Electronics and IT and Google have come together for ‘Build for Digital India’ initiative,” said Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. “This initiative will not only motivate the college students across India to innovate but will also produce some good technology solutions for some major social challenges of India.”

As part of the programme, enrolled students will utilise Google-run tools such as Android, Cloud, and Machine Learning. “Advanced new technologies…can help address at scale some of the toughest social challenges that India faces today,” said Karan Bhattia, Google’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy. 

The news comes with much potential to improve the healthcare system in India, coming on the heels of numerous digital healthcare boons in recent years. Investors such as Bill Gates have expressed interest in collaborating with India on digital health systems whilst start-ups working in the fields of digital health are proliferating, innovating in fields ranging from mental healthcare to maternal mortality to heart disease. 

As the Union Ministry of Electronics and IT’s collaboration shows, there is much eagerness from the Centre to embrace technology in order to further India’s social development. The Union Health Ministry is no exception to this trend. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan unveiled a blueprint earlier this year, foregrounding technology as part of India’s roadmap towards achieving universal health coverage. With Google now entering the fold, it is clear that there is much enthusiasm for tapping the potential of India’s digital community and the benefits for society will be multifaceted. 

The benefits of such partnerships to Bhattia are clear: “we are pleased to be partnering with MeitY to reach, inspire and equip today’s young engineers with the technical and entrepreneurial skills and the mentorship they need to turn their bright ideas into tomorrow’s breakthrough solutions.” 

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