MUMBAI: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today said that the company is starting a programme for startups that will create a single platform to bring together data to help solve burgeoning urban problems.
“Startups can now apply for individual access up to $120,000 (Rs 80 lakh) worth of Azure computing to help smart cities explore solutions and run smart city digital pilots. Cities can also apply for access to these services and solutions on Azure through a new portal which connects startups with cities and their needs,” the company said in a statement.
With over 50 startups as partners, Microsoft said this initiative will cover more than 50 smart cities in the next year.
The new project is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of smart cities, Nadella said.
Addressing industry leaders and state government officials, Nadella said computing is the future and emphasized on the need of promoting cloud and mobility.
Nadella said entrepreneurs today are using cloud computing and data to improve processes for small businesses as well as healthcare and education setup. This has allowed these organizations to deliver better performance and improve output by reducing the amount of resources required.
At the event, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in conversation with Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik said that the state has already brought 42 government services online and the vision is to bring all government-provided services on a single platform. “To help improve ease of doing business in the state, the government is also reducing the number of permissions needed to execute projects,” CM added.
Fadnavis said that the state government is creating smart cities and using technologies to reduce wastage and promote sustainability. He said he sees even villages going ‘smart’, with Harisaal becoming the first completely digital village of the state. He said the state government aims to create 50 digital villages by 2016.
Fadnavis added that introducing technology in the field of education is also imperative.
IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that support for regional languages is imperative to take the whole of India to the digital age.
Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of Mahindra Group, stressed on the power of democratization and decentralization of technology in connecting citizens and government.