Bill Gates may address country’s top policy makers on ‘Transforming India’
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is likely to address India’s top policy makers at Niti Aayog’s lecture series on “Transforming India” on November 16. Gates’ talk on “Technology as an Agent of Change” will be the second such lecture organised by the government’s premium think tank. The first lecture was given by Singapore’s deputy prime minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in August this year. The government has planned a full house for the lecture by technology czar and philanthropist as nearly 1,400 delegates, including all Cabinet ministers, senior government officials and state representatives are expected to attend the session. The address will be followed by closed door panel discussion and brainstorming session as was scheduled during Shanmugaratanam’s talk on ‘Fulfilling India’s Potential in the Global Economy’ which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The lecture by Gates has been organised considering the BJP government’s focus on increasing use of technology in governance to check corruption and improve public delivery system through its direct benefit transfer scheme and using Aadhaar numbers. The Modi dispensation has accelerated PM’s ambitious Digital India project which aims to ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically and help people gain benefits from the latest information and communication technology. It also aims to ensure high speed internet connectivity to all villages across the country. “The idea is to listen and discuss with Microsoft founder and businessmen at a time the government’s focus is on Digital India,” said a senior official. He added, “The aim is to expose top policy-makers to the latest technology, concepts and best practices followed across the world on a particular issue. This would also encourage ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking among the top echelons of the government.” An official said that the vital suggestions and ideas emerging from the brainstorming sessions may be useful in policy formulation. Niti Aayog’s plan is to build this lecture series into a brand in itself, on the lines of such a series being organised by think tanks across the world by inviting eminent policy makers, including Presidents, PMs, academics and experts to share their ideas on India for the benefit of policy-makers in the country.