Social networking site Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg Thursday said he is excited about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India programme and will discuss with him ways to connect the country’s masses with the digital world.“I am meeting with Prime Minister Modi tomorrow (Friday). I am really excited about his Digital India campaign. We will be trying to work together for spreading the internet to the one billion Indians who are out of reach of the Internet,” Zuckerberg told reporters on the sidelines of the Facebook summit organised here. “Facebook on its own cannot spread Internet accessibility. We require to work together with everyone, including the government and telecom operators to do so,” he added.
Zuckerberg, who is on his first visit to India, said he looks forward to Facebook helping the government in the Digital India programme. “I know that Prime Minister Modi is also committed to spreading the Internet. He is committed to connecting villages online and we are excited to see how Facebook can help,” he said. India has about 243 million Internet users and 100 million plus Facebook users, he added.
Zuckerberg said that he will be informing Modi about the Facebook initiative – ‘internet.org’ – which aims to make Internet access affordable for people across the globe. Focused on enabling access to the next five billion people still without Internet, the founding members of the project include Facebook, Ericsson, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung. The partners are collaborating on developing lower cost, higher quality smartphones and enlarging Internet access in poorly served communities.
The initiative has succeeded in connecting 3 million people to the Internet.