Aiming to work with the Indian government on various issues including e-payments, digital health, digital literacy and e-agriculture in India, Bill Gates, American business magnate, philanthropist and founder of tech giant met Minister of Information Technology, Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The meeting that went on for 45 minutes was attended by senior officers of IT ministry as well as Gates and members of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Sources said that Gates is interested in getting into the payments bank application in India as he wants to streamline the digital payments system for economically weaker sections. Industry experts said that Microsoft is already providing backend support to a number of payments bank in India, which are set to launch in the next few months.
Reviewing the Digital India programme, Gates said that the Foundation is keen on working in various areas along with the government. “It’s very exciting time in India and some of these digital platform opportunities are really quite amazing. The government has invested manpower and the payments banks and payment infrastructure. It is now a case of building the applications on top of those. We need to work on health issues, health applications. Our Foundation is committed to working on those areas – relationship with this ministry will be very critical for us,” Gates said.
Specific to health in India, Gates went on to say that there is a question of having a health record, what it looks like and how can one ensure it is standardised and kept private.
The IT Minister said that Gates has shown great interest in various facets of Digital Indiaprogramme. “We had a very profitable meeting, Bill Gates is a true friend of India. He is working enormously in India through his Bill and Melinda foundation. It was exciting to hear his deep interest for digital payments in India and also digital health. I disclosed to him the entire nature of Aadhaar-enabled payments on other platforms and also digital health. And also gave him an outline of entire Digital India programme,” said Prasad.
Sources also said that his company Microsoft would also work with the government on cyber security.