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Sikka meets Modi; dedicates $250 mn to innovate in India

January 14, 2015 16:02 IST

Vishal SikkaInfosys chief executive officer Vishal Sikka on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and disclosed that his company will spend $250 million (over Rs 1,500 crore) to fund innovations in software and services in India.

The chief of India's second largest IT services firm also discussed with Modi ways in which the company can participate in the Prime Minister's vision of smart and digitally empowered India.

Infosys will develop software for managing the kumbh mela scheduled in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh) in 2016, he told PTI in an interview.

Sikka, the first non-founder CEO of Infosys, said Modi has agreed to dedicate the company's Mysore campus as the first model smart city in the country in April this year.

"Today, I had a meeting with the Prime Minister.

“We had a talk on smart cities, smart infrastructure, which is close to his heart.

"And the other big area is innovation. PM has a vision for innovation. As announced last week, we have a $500 million Innovation Fund.

“Of this, we have decided that half of this, which is a little over Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion), will be dedicated to just innovation in India.

“We will call it Innovate in India," Sikka said.

On smart cities, he said Infosys campuses are one of the most amazing places in the world. They are green and energy efficient and work as smart units.

"Our Mysore campus is a small smart city.

“It has 30,000 people living and working there at any given day.

“We are going to make our Mysore campus the first model smart city and the

PM has very graciously accepted our invitation to the Mysore campus and dedicate it to the nation in April," he added.

Spread over 350 acres, Infosys' Mysore campus, which also houses its university, has more than 200,000 trees and is energy-efficient.

"We want to make this a part of PM's vision for smart, digital and swacch India. Everything is digital, it is completely digital (referring to the campus, including toilets)," Sikka said.

Elaborating on the discussion around Kumbh mela, Sikka said post the meeting, the teams have already started brain storming on the solutions.

"Ujjain is very close to where I was born.

“I was born in Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh and we will be very happy to do that. We have been thinking about how we will do this, to make software for the kumbh mela, clean toilets.

“It was a very very productive meeting," he said.

The CEO added that the company will look at offering software for participants and organisers.

"Clean toilets is (also) one of them (initiatives) as lakhs of people will be using them, things like self cleaning toilet, water free urinals, etc," he said.

Sikka is also scheduled to meet Finance Minister Arun Jaitley later today for pre-Budget consultations.

The former SAP Board member, who spent his growing years in Gujarat said, he shared his nostalgia about Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti in other parts of the country) with Modi.

On his Budget expectations, Sikka said the government should make the environment business friendly.

There is an increasing role that the government can play in ensuring a smooth flow of ideas and skill.

"Our expectations would be to make, tax, tariff structure and trade easier," he added.

Image: Vishal Sikka; Photograph: Reuters

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