Bill Gates meets Central ministers, discusses digital inclusion, e-payments and skill upgradation

18th Nov 2016
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Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-Chairperson of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recently met Home Minister Rajnath, who asked him to support Central government's efforts for skill upgradation of workers in agriculture sector.

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Commending the welfare schemes being run by the Gates Foundation in India, Singh said after the success of its Ananya child care and maternal health programme in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the scheme should also be implemented in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha where there is a large tribal population.

The Home Minister invited Gates to support the Central government's initiative to give a major push to skill upgradation of workers in Indias agriculture sector, an official statement said.

Singh lauded the Gates Foundations Awahan initiative, which has helped reduce the spread of HIV infection across India. The Home Minister said the Central government has laid stress on the JAM (Jan Dhan Accounts, Aadhar Number and Mobile Governance) platform and hoped Gates Potential Digital Financial Inclusion Models can be adopted to improve the Service Delivery System in the country, the statement said.

Gates also met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and discussed ways in which his foundation could participate in areas such as digital inclusion, healthcare, e-agriculture and e-payments. Gates said after the 30-minute meeting,

It's very exciting time in India and digital platform opportunities are amazing

Indian government has invested in payment banks and payment infrastructure, he said, adding, "Now, its the case of building application on top of those. We need to work on health applications, agriculture applications, and our foundation is committed to working in these areas. So, our relation with the ministry will be critical," he said.


Also read : Leadership lessons from Bill Gates on his 61st birthday



Asked as to how his foundation will partner with government on health applications, the IT czar, who is also one of the richest man in the world, said an example of the same could be health records.

It's the question of having health records, what should it look like, how do we ensure it's standardised, kept private. There is a lot of experience on this globally, but with our desire to create efficiency, having a health record will be important, he said.

Speaking to reporters after the interaction, Prasad said Gates had expressed keen interest in digital payments, digital health and e-agriculture in India, and shared his ideas in these areas.

I talked to him about the nature of Aadhaar, Aadhaar-enabled payment and other platforms we have created, and also the area of digital healthcare, and Digital India, Prasad said.

Officials who were present at the meeting said that Prasad and Gates also discussed postal payments bank and digital financial inclusion.

Gates is aware of Aadhaar and Unified Payment Interface as being two building blocks, and the Foundation wants to work with startups who can build value-added services for bottom of the pyramid, he said.

Another area of interest in India for Microsoft is the cyber security, the official added.

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