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Code for India techies impress Modi

By Ritu Jha
October 01, 2015 10:10 IST
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The prime minister was impressed with the speed at which the apps designed by young programmers delivered results -- whether it be addressing problems like women's safety, and farmers and weather-related issues.

Ritu Jha/Rediff.com reports from California.

IMAGE: Google CEO Sunder Pichhai and a Google techie demonstrate Google tech to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, September 27. Photograph: Ministry of External Affairs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met over 150 software engineers at the Code for India Hackathon 2015 held at Google's Mountain View headquarters in California.

Code for India was hosted by founder Karl Mehta in collaboration with Indiaspora and the US-India Business Council in honour of Modi's visit to Silicon Valley and was aimed at highlighting the prime minister's flagship initiatives, Digital India and Skilled India.

During the event, the organisers launched a portal, Skill for India, where online learning will be made interesting.

"The Web site pulls content from anywhere without having to wait for an online teacher to give answers to your problems," Mehta said.

Modi, Mehta added, was impressed with the speed at which the apps designed by young programmers delivered results -- whether it be addressing India's problems like women's safety, and farmers and weather-related issues.

Modi's Digital India campaign, which aims to connect rural communities to the Internet, will get a boost from Code for India's volunteering community, Mehta pointed out.

"For such a big idea like Digital India to succeed it has to become a mass movement. And it can happen only when there is on ground people engagement and involvement," Mehta explained, adding, "Code for India creates that kind of platform."

In 15 hours, Mehta said young professionals created 55 different apps and projects keeping in mind Modi's three key focus areas: Speed, scale and skills.

M R Rangaswami, Silico Valley investor and founder, Indiaspora, told Rediff.com that the Code for India event was critical in further strengthening US-India relations.

The coders were judged on technical accomplishment, creativity, design, and of course, how effectively their apps solved a critical problem.

Ravi Kiran Kumar, the winner for 'Code for Scaling,' told Rediff.com, "the fact that you are able to create an app overnight for masses in rural India is an amazing feeling."

Kumar and his team earlier won the Code for India Hackathon held at Stanford University in 2013.

"We had built a solution called 'Vote for a Better India,' Kumar added. "'I vote for a Better India' was a voters education and awareness initiative from the Election Commission of India. The award was presented by President A P J Abdul Kalam."

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