Microsoft keen to take part in Unique ID project: Gates

Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation, said, at a NASSCOM CEO forum today, that the global software giant was keen to participate in India's unique ID programme. Gates plans to meet Nandan Nilekani, who is Chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), tonight.

The UIDAI project plans to provide every Indian with a unique identity card. The card gives the citizen a 16-digit ID number, which provides financial, educational, health-related information.

So, what advice would Gates give to Nilekani on the UID project? "I am going to see him tonight. I will be fascinated to hear how that is shaping up and what kind of milestone he is willing to sign up for in this thing. I certainly commit that Microsoft wants to be a partner in this and help out. I what to understand which applications he wants to pilot in. We need to make sure it connects up to the health in the right way. We need to make sure the database is going to be very accurate. Even though, I think you can go overboard on privacy, one needs to have that discussion about exactly how is that going to work."

Gates was speaking at an event, 'Transforming India through Technology', at the National Association of Software and Services Companies' (NASSCOM) CEO forum. Among other things, he also said that he saw Indian IT companies stepping up from being only service providers to innovators. He added that in a country like India, it was very important to know the country better inorder to service it better.

“I see some of the companies really stepping this up and saying that it’s not going to be services but it’s going to be inventing and innovation,” Gates said. "Research is vital for all things that we do. Every company should put more into research whether it's healthcare, energy or any other sector."

Gates also spoke about Microsoft and its stay in India. “When Microsoft started in India, we started with three goals, to be world-class in terms of the advancing, contribute to Microsoft products and be a great citizen here — play a significant role in the move in the move towards doing more research in the country.”

Gates is in India to receive the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

On Obama's comment that he would rather create jobs in Buffalo than Bangalore, Gates said, "I am sure an Indian politician could fairly say that they would rather create jobs in Bangalore than in Buffalo. All of us our citizens of a country and we are citizens of the world. Fortunately, the job market is not a zero sum market. That is just because of jobs created in one location doesn’t mean it is shifted."


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