It is an exciting time we are living in. The last decade was the decade of telecom penetration in India. Across all walks of life once can see significant increase in productivity and gains in efficiency especially in the less privileged strata of the society.
Today, the world of Internet has thrown open unprecedented opportunities for us as a country and region to empower and transform our communities and the world. There are 120 million internet users in the country. India is the third largest internet user market in the world. By 2015, the number of internet users is estimated to scale to 300 million. Imagine the power of 300 million users leveraging technology and the internet every minute to connect and build their hopes, aspirations and ultimately their surroundings. Information & Communication Technology is ushering in a new era and we at Google, recognize the need to support and help grow this ecosystem.
ICT innovations are the need of the hour. Google is committed to bridging the digital divide that exists in this country and across the APAC region. ICT is a key driver to usher in a new era of inclusion and connectivity and empower the people of the region.
As Google turns 14 this year, we are committed to building a diverse and vibrant ecosystem for startups and enable current and future entrepreneurs to be successful. Entrepreneurship is going to be a key focus for us. Through our various initiatives like Google for Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurs on the Web, Jagruti Yatra, Google Startup Fridays, GBus, we hope to reach out to and empower people to make an impact in their communities through and not limited to only ICT initiatives. Startups and entrepreneurs have the power to build technologies and creative solutions that transform the world and move us forward.
The empowerment that the Internet brings to the rural areas in the country can be seen from the number of searches for English education on YouTube. Basic Science and Math content being taught by experts in vernacular languages and made available through YouTube is empowering children in government schools. Indic translation and typing, now available through the click of a button on the Gmail platform is helping millions take advantage of this powerful communication tool which was otherwise not an option for them.
The Manthan Awards, a first of its kind initiative in India to recognize the best practices in e-Content and Creativity, is a great forum to recognize and bring together all the success stories from across the region. By recognizing ICT innovations, Manthan is trying to foster a spirit of inclusion across the region and build a sense of community through the forum. We wish Manthan the very best in this endeavour!
Innovation in thought, innovation in technology is what we require. ICT is already creating ripples across all walks of life. The challenge and the potential lies in how we use ICT for the overall development of the world as we know it today!
Jayashri Ramamurti is the Head of People Operations, Engg and Product, Google India.