India

Digital India: Business leaders pledge $70bn

Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Limited, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group, Cyrus Mistry, chairman of Tata Group, and Anil Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (L-R) attend the launch of “Digital India Weekâ Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Top Indian business leaders attended the launch of Digital India week

Indian companies have pledged 4,500 trillion rupees ($70bn; £44bn) to the "digital India" initiative.

Among key investors were the Ambani brothers, Tata group chief Cyrus Mistry and Wipro head Azim Premji.

Companies also pledged to manufacture in India, estimated to add 1.8 million jobs to the economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched "India Digital Week" on Wednesday, to reinvigorate an $18bn campaign to strengthen digital infrastructure.

"Why can't we make quality electronic goods that are globally competitive?" Mr Modi said, highlighting his goal of ending net technology and electronics imports by 2020.

India's richest man Mukesh Ambani pledged the biggest investment, saying he planned to invest 2.5tn rupees ($39bn) through his Reliance Industries.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, announced $7bn to fund network rollouts and other projects, the AFP news agency reported.

The venture is aimed at bridging India's digital divide, bringing in large investments in technology manufacturing.

However, India will have to overcome a number of challenges before it can achieve its ambitions.

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