Maharashtra signs MoU with Microsoft

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Wednesday, 29 June 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: Maharashtra Government has signed a MoU with the Indian subsidiary of global IT giant Microsoft to accelerate IT literacy in the state and deliver effective e-governance services.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was present at the at the signing ceremony at Microsoft headquarters here, said Maharashtra government was seeking the help of the global software giant to bridge the existing digital divide in the state.

Under the agreement signed by Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation India and Maharashtra Secretary of Industries V K Jairath yesterday, Microsoft will assist the state government to set up a Bhasha Language Lab at a premier education institute which will provide students and small developers training and access to software tools so that they can build applications and content in Marathi.

"We want to know how can we reach the masses and we are looking for proper answers from you (Microsoft)," Deshmukh, who also launched the Marathi language interfaces for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, said.

Venkatesan said that making Microsoft relevant to a billion people in India was a key strategic priority of the company and it was trying to achieve that by working with progressive state governments such as Maharashtra.

In a country where only five per cent of the population speak English, use of local language is key to bringing computing to the masses, he said, adding that under Project Bhasha, Microsoft will introduce Microsoft Windows Office in 14 languages by the end of this year.

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