Global technology giants are keen on partnering the government in its ambitious Unique Identification (UID) project.
First it was Microsoft, then Yahoo and now it’s Google — all these information technology multinational companies see a big opportunity in the mammoth project that envisages providing unique identity to over 100 crore Indians.
“We will be happy to help the government in implementing the project if the UID authorities feel that Google can add value to it. It is up to the government authorities to decide how we can help,” Google India Managing Director Shailesh Rao said here on Thursday.
Talking to journalists here, Mr. Rao said: “At Google, we are good at software development, hosting data and language technologies. We run our product on more than eight regional languages in India. If the project has a mobile dimension, then also we can help. At Google, we have developed voice-based search capabilities.”
Similarly, Yahoo has also shown its keenness to be a part of the UID project, headed by the former Infosys CEO, Nandan Nilekani.
After meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this connection on Wednesday, Yahoo’s Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz had said: “The UID project involves a huge database. We, at Yahoo, have expertise in handling such huge amounts of data. We have discussed this and informed how Yahoo can help the government in the project.
“Yahoo India has a major presence in India, where three out of every four Indians access the Internet through Yahoo, which offers search engine, email and social networking services, among others. Yahoo processes about 500 billion emails every month,” Ms. Bartz added.
Interestingly, during his visit to India earlier this year, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had also shown interest in the project. Terming it as a “great initiative,” Mr. Gates had said Microsoft would be happy to be a part of it. He had even met Mr. Nilekani in this connection.
Other MNCs, including Cisco, are also keen to have a piece of the action. “We are in talks with Mr. Nilekani on how to help and the kind of role Cisco can play,” Cisco Systems Inc. Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior said recently.
Indian IT giants like Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services are also strategising to be a part of the project, which, they believe will galvanise the entire Indian IT industry.