Mark Zuckerberg arrives in India, to meet PM Narendra Modi

Facebook working extensively in rural India to enhance connectivity, says founder Mark Zuckerberg; adds technology should be available for all around.

Mark Zuckerberg arrives in India, to meet PM Narendra Modi

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said that he would meet PM Narendra Modi on Friday to discuss connecting Indian villages to the internet, and Facebook’s role in doing so. Zuckerberg hailed Modi saying he was committed to connecting villages online.

Zuckerberg is in India on a two-day visit, and was speaking in New Delhi.

Calling internet connectivity a pathway to the world, Zuckerberg said that technology must be made available for all, not just to the rich and powerful. Easy access to technology, he said, enables a society to take the big leap and arrive on the world stage. Zuckerberg praised India for embracing science and said that the only problem was that a large percentage of Indians are still not connected to the internet.

He stressed that Facebook was working extensively in rural India to enhance connectivity, adding that connectivity enhances prospects for education, jobs and access to technology. Calling India a country with immense potential, the founder of Facebook however added that 69% of Indians had no access to an internet connection and most do not understand why internet would be of importance to them. He stated that free internet access should be a priority and easily available, like dailing 100 for police in India.

Zuckerberg revealed that 65% of Facebook users use the network in local languages, including 10 Indian languages. Underlining the necessity to promote Facebook in different languages, Zuckerberg said that the social network had been working on apps and services in local languages since 2007. He said that for India, apps that would be useful to farmers, women and students need to be developed. Consequently, Zuckerberg announced a fund of over $1 billion for the development of such apps.

Zuckerberg also announced a contest to drive creation of apps that can serve in local languages. “We will fund top apps that can serve farmers and villagers,” said Zuckerberg.