Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in discussion with EkStep co-founder and chairman Nandan Nilekani during an event on startup stalwarts of India about digital information, intelligent cloud, AI, in Bengaluru, Feb. 20. (Shailendra Bhojak/PTI)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Feb. 21, as well as the IT Minister and discussed the company’s digital inclusion program that leverages technology for improving rural healthcare and education. He made a strong case for using digital technologies to empower the common man and launched a slew of India-centric initiatives, including a platform to connect semi-skilled workers with employers. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer @Microsoft #Microsoft #SatyaNadella #NaMo #NarendraModi #DigitalIndia #Tech #Skype #Flipkart #DigiGaon #LinkedIn

The India born CEO also participated in a round table at NITI Aayog on tapping into cloud computing for good governance in the country.

In a tweet, NITI Aayog said: “@Microsoft CEO @satyanadella answers queries of senior govt officials on secure use big data and cloud computing for good governance.”

It also shared a photograph of NITI Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya presenting Nadella a book titled ‘State Forward’ about best practices in governance from States.

Nadella and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad talked about the software giant’s rural digital initiatives and leveraging its professional networking platform, LinkedIn, for creating employment opportunities.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with Prime Minister Narendra in New Delhi, Feb. 21. (PTI/PIB)

The high profile executive, who is on a multi-city tour, addressed a conference on ‘Future Decoded’ in Mumbai.

He was in India’s tech hub, Bengaluru, Feb. 20, speaking on a slew of topics including Artificial Intelligence and re-skilling, meeting the startup community and unveiling a cloud partnership with e-tailer Flipkart.

Terming his meeting with Nadella as “fruitful,” Prasad said India would look at applying the experiences of Microsoft’s pilot project in Harisal for its newly-announced Digi Gaon initiative.

“Microsoft is doing good work in India. In particular, we have appreciated their initiative for digital inclusion in village…the Harisal pilot project in Maharashtra where they brought in a lot of technology and connectivity for digital health and digital education…,” Prasad said after the 30-minute meeting.

“This is something I am considering for replication… given our larger vision of digital village announced in the Budget by the FM under Digi Gaon initiative,” he added.

Prasad said other issues that were discussed in detail included “LinkedIn involvement in skilling professionals to be exposed to good job opportunities.”

“In particular, LinkedIn exposure for creating more employment opportunities and Digi Gaon becoming a success with application of the experience of pilot project in Harisal, is something we eagerly look forward to,” Prasad said.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the company’s flagship technology and business conference “Future Decoded” in Mumbai, Feb. 22. (Santosh Hirlekar/PTI)

The issue of H-1B visas did not figure in the meeting with the Microsoft CEO, he said.

Nadella and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, he said, represented a “powerful statement of extraordinary contribution” of India’s talent, and accomplishments in the field of technology.

On the issue of cloud, the Minister noted that India has a cloud first policy, and added, “we have empanelled Microsoft also.”

Nadella Pitches for Poor, Unveils Tech for Semi-skilled

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made a strong case for using digital technologies to empower the common man and launched a slew of India-centric initiatives, Feb. 22, including a platform to connect semi-skilled workers with employers.

The technology giant also launched a ‘lite’ version of its video interaction platform Skype.

“If digital technology is only the purview of the large businesses and the start-ups, I think that is not sufficient for an economy to make progress,” the India-born Nadella said speaking at a company event in Mumbai.

“We can celebrate technology, but if it doesn’t truly empower every Indian and every Indian organization to achieve more…we would have achieved nothing,” he said.

The global giant introduced the ‘Sangam’ platform, which is based on the world’s largest professional networking site LinkedIn, also owned by the company, which will help the semi-skilled workers get job opportunities.

“We now need to extend this (LinkedIn) to middle skill and low-skill (workers), (provide) vocational training for job opportunities for everyone,” he said, adding that sectors like hospitality can benefit from it.

The platform will also work on helping people to skill themselves for the jobs, which are getting created, he said, adding that it is yet to go public and is at the “private preview” stage.

He also announced a new service on LinkedIn called ‘Placements,’ which will help Indian college graduates land job opportunities in a democratic manner as per their skill sets, while pointing out that finding the right job is a challenge for graduates in India.

With bandwidth being a concern in India, the company also showcased ‘lite’ versions of LinkedIn as well as Skype, its video interaction service.

LinkedIn has 39 million members in India and the new lite platform can work even at 2G speeds, he said.

Nadella was quite appreciative of the progress on Aadhaar, and said that ‘India Stack’ is driving a lot of innovation at Microsoft.

India Stack is a part of ‘Digital India’ program aimed at treating information as a utility. Instead of having a top down approach, the government has launched an open application programming interface policy.

Skype’s lite version, which is available in nine Indian languages, also has an Aadhaar identity tool built-in that can help businesses for purposes like background checks in applications like interviews.

Nadella said there have been improvements in the lives of people in the first digital village of Harisal in the malnutrition-prone Melghat region of Maharashtra and announced to scale up the digital village concept to 100 villages.

The digital village concept touches various facets including banking, payments, public distribution system, classrooms and vocational education, among others, he said, adding that the focus is on electronification.

Nadella also announced that country’s largest lender SBI has decided to move to the Cloud and will be adopting its Office 365 solution.