Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the last day of his two-day trip to India has met the Indian PM Narendra Modi. The PM updated about his meeting by posting it on Twitter and Facebook.
Sharing his thoughts about the interaction, the PM writes on Facebook that he had a fruitful meeting with the CEO and discussed several issues that included his pet project of Clean India or Swachh Bharat Mission. “I spoke to him about Swachh Bharat Mission. Mr. Zuckerberg shared that Facebook would assist the Government of India in the Clean India mobile application. This will surely give an impetus to Swachh Bharat Mission.”
Here in India to also push the Internet.org initiative to bring Internet to the reach of the one billion population, Mark also discussed about the Digital India Initiative that the present government in chasing. “Mr. Zuckerberg is excited about Digital India initiative. I requested him to identify certain areas where Facebook can help us in that.”
Prior to Mark, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had met the PM earlier during the year. In her interaction with the PM, Facebook helping to promote India’s rich tourist potential was discussed. In today’s meeting the PM had iterated similar thoughts with Mark. “I also requested Mr. Zuckerberg to identify how Facebook can help promote India’s rich tourist potential across the world, “ said the PM.
While there isn’t any update from the Facebook CEO but it is very much evident that he might have spoken about making internet connectivity a human right. Speaking yesterday at the first Internet.org summit he had shared, that internet connectivity should become a basic human right. “In developing countries, 25 percent fewer women are online, compared to men,” Mark had said and wished to discuss the same with Modi and find out how Facebook can help India.
Earlier in the day Mark also met Union Minister for Communications & Information Technology and Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad. Talking about his meeting with Mark he shared on Facebook that, “He has shown profound interest to involve Facebook in the Digital India program and in broadband distribution, e-Health, e-Education, etc.”
Labeling him as a true global icon, Ravi Shankar Prasad was impressed with Mark’s vision to promote entrepreneurship among Indians in the field of IT. “It is indeed my vision and mission that India in future may produce many more greats like #MarkZuckerberg.”
Talking with the minister Mark expressed his keen interest in taking this forward and shared his idea of providing “free basic services” to the people as a part of their plan to make internet more affordable to people. Elaborating upon the success achieved in Zambia in providing free basic services to people, he requested the govt to support this initiative of Facebook in India.
Ravi Shankar Prasad welcomed his idea and has extended all possible support from the government in taking this forward.
Besides Mark has shown interest towards the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) project, to which the minister added that there exists a great opportunity for Facebook to harness the vast potential of Indian entrepreneurs in retailing of internet connectivity to the masses by involving local entrepreneurs.
This is a remarkable visit for Facebook which is the most popular social network in the country with 100 million active users and even for India which is inching towards becoming the digital hub of Asia in the coming years. Argued earlier in the day the Internet.org could be a game changer for India since it creates an opportunity for the billion people who are still not connected to the Internet by making it a human right along with food, water and shelter.