Digital transformation represents life-changing possibilities for people living in the rural villages of India—from improving education and providing access to healthcare, to enabling connections to markets for small businesses, to improving sustainability in agriculture.
Oracle CEO Safra Catz at Oracle OpenWorld 2016 announced an ambitious partnership with the Indian state of Maharashtra focused on achieving that vision, as well as developing 10 smart cities within the state, all by the year 2020.
Catz was joined onstage by Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis, who described the youthful advantage of his state and of India: four years from now, the median age in that country will be 29—far lower than the median age in Japan, Europe, China, or the United States.
“As a state, we need to create an ecosystem and convert this population into human resource,” Fadnavis said. “We need to create jobs, to create sustainable habitats with quality of life. And for that, speed and scale is the key. The solution is technology. “
Oracle and the Government of Maharashtra signed an agreement to create a center of excellence in Mumbai, the state’s capital, which will focus on leveraging technology to improve the delivery of government services and accelerate the state’s smart city program.
“Imagine, 29,000 villages will be connected through fiber optics,” Fadnavis said. “By December 2018, the entire infrastructure will be in place and every single citizen of my state, whether he belongs to an urban area or to the remotest village, will be digitally connected.”
Part of Digital India, a program launched last year by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and backed by Oracle, the new program will take advantage of cloud computing technologies and big data analytics to ramp up quickly and prioritize and deploy resources efficiently.
“The focus will be on using our cloud technologies, which allow for an immediate uptake instead of the lengthy process that IT projects historically took,” Catz said. “This is all about speed, and the targets that the chief minister stated are very exciting to us and are a perfect fit with cloud technologies.”
Prior to the cloud era, the infrastructure build-out that such a program required would make such plans prohibitively expensive. During a press conference after the announcement, Catz emphasized that it will take the knowledge and technology from Oracle as well as its partners and customers to reach such ambitious goals.
“The technology is ready, the vision is there, at both the state and national level, and the need for this initiative is there—so all the stars are aligning,” she said.