India poised to spend $18 billion on 'digital' revolution

According to Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, India is set for a 'digital revolution' as it implements an $18 billion programme to expand high-speed Internet access and offer government services online. The goals include broadband Internet for 250,000 clusters of villages by 2016, cloud storage for citizens, and making banking and other data accessible via mobile phones. In an interview Prasad, 60, referred to PM Narendra Modi's strategy for greater use of technology, saying the opportunity that Digital India will create will also become a great business proposition. Prasad said Mark Zuckerberg, who along with Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon.com, and Microsoft Corp CEO Satya Nadella, visited India after Modi's election victory, is interested in e-education and e-health. Another objective is to turn India into a technology manufacturing hub, as rules on mobile-phone spectrum trading and sharing are due by the end of the year, and the government also considers whether mergers and acquisitions rules in the telecommunications sector need adjusting.