The first edition of Facebook Fuel for India has officially kicked off. Fuel for India 2020 squarely focuses on growth opportunities in the digital space for India, and marks Facebook’s intent towards supporting India’s digital revolution ambitions. Among the key presentations so far have been Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who spoke to Mahita Nagaraj and how she used Facebook groups to create Caremongers India, CRO David Fischer who spoke to Meesho founder Vidit Aatrey about creating a business enabling entrepreneurs while using Facebook’s digital reach, and others. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has also joined Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a frank and profound conversation, on how technology majors such as Facebook can play a pivotal role in supporting India and Indian companies to bring about India’s digital transformation.
The event is spaced out over two days, December 15 and December 16 and is a virtual event. Facebook wants to use this platform to showcase what they call the stories of change in India through the Facebook family’s products and programs currently available in India. For this, Facebook has lined up an extensive agenda as well as a list of speakers that include the top names in the world of tech, business and policy. At this time, users in India have access to the Facebook app and platform, WhatsApp, WhatsApp for Business, Instagram as well as Messenger apps.
Some of the listed conversation agenda following the keynote by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, include focus on the communities in India, using digital tools for social good, democratizing donations via digital platforms, using digital tools to empower women entrepreneurs, digital inclusion using platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram and creativity as well as Facebook’s push for building a safe and open internet for consumers in India. “India is in the midst of one of the most dynamic social and economic transformations the world has ever seen. Call it a pivot, a moment in time or a movement in history, for us it’s a story we are excited to be a part of, one that inspires us every day,” says the pitch for the Facebook Fuel For India 2020 event.
Zuckerberg now shares his take on how the world is changing. He notes India's role as the world's largest democracy, states that empowering individuals will help create prosperity in the decades ahead. He adds to this his focus on connecting with other people in the best possible way, evolving from text to photos to videos. Now, he states that he's focused on helping to create virtual reality and augmented reality as the next way forward for communications. Digital objects may be as realistic as real objects, he says.
"India is home to the world's largest communities," says Zuckerberg. He underlines the demand for people to connect in India, says he sees a very promising future in India. There is a big trend of financial inclusions in the country, he says, adding that this is helping people add self reliance to their lives made possible with aspects such as India's UPI interface.
Ambani underlines the power of new generation technologies in upgrading the connectivity across all places in India, upskilling for all, revolutionising the education sector in the country, upgrading health services by working closely with authorities and so on. The next few decades will be historic in India's digital transformation, says Ambani.
Jio brings digital connectivity, WhatsApp with WhatsApp Pay brings inclusivity, Reliance Retail and JioMart gives everyone in India a chance to be at part with global services around the world. Technology adoption will help India create a more equal wealth growth at the bottom of the pyramid, says Ambani to Zuckerberg.
Ambani touches upon Reliance's setting up of a Covid-19 dedicated hospital in Mumbai, Reliance Life Sciences helping in the Covid-19 testing process, and also in producing 100,000 PPE kits in the country. The Reliance Foundation distributed 55 million meals for the vulnerable across India in the early pandemic months, affirms Mr Mukesh Ambani.
Shivnath Thukral, director of public policy at WhatsApp and Facebook, speaks to Abhishek Singh, MD-CEO of Digital India Corporation who works closely with MyGov. He speaks about the impact of user engagement that the government body has seen so far through Facebook's public tools, as well as their WhatsApp chatbot for Covid-19.