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Modi Mania: Googleplex set for an all-night app fest

The 15-hour hackathon will see app developers in India and US building socially useful or problem-solving apps

Nivedita Mookerji & Karan Choudhury  |  New Delhi 

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

Programmers in the US and India will participate in a 15-hour hackathon on Digital India and Skilled India this Sunday, to coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley.

Googleplex, Google’s corporate headquarters in Santa Clara County in California, will host 200 programmers, while the Tech Mahindra office in Noida will be the venue for 250-odd programmers and engineers.

Modi is slated to connect with them by video link from the Google office.

Karl Mehta, co-founder of Code for India, which is organising the hackathon—in which programmers come together to solve technology problems—it would demonstrate the commitment of Indian-American engineers in Silicon Valley to fulfill Modi’s vision.

Programmers from Tech Mahindra, Snapdeal, HCL, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro are participating in the event, according to Jagdish Mitra, chief strategy and marketing officer, Tech Mahindra.

“The focus will be development of technologies to aid the Digital India and Skilled India initiatives,” Mitra said.

Mehta pointed out Tesla’s rechargeable lithium-ion batteries designed to store energy for houses fit into the government’s plan of adding 100,000 Mw of solar power by 2022.

“We require the right environment to grow. It goes for both the Indian information technology sector and Silicon Valley. We hope the prime minister’s visit will help solve some of these issues,” Mitra added.

Mehta told Business Standard via e-mail: “As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist here in Silicon Valley, I’ve never seen this level of excitement ever. Our mission is to inspire techies worldwide to volunteer with their tech-talent for social impact. We host a few Hackathons each year and they are run like an ‘extreme sports’ for techies where they compete to build the best apps in high-speed to solve a problem (essentially hacking it) and also ensure the solution is scalable when deployed in the field.”

Silicon Valley has tremendous expertise and proven success in building large-scale technology platforms, Mehta said. “For instance, my company EdCast that is based here is excited about skilling 500 million people in India with digital learning.”

Mehta believes that this is a strategic and critical visit by the PM because the timing is just right. But while the PM’s visit will start the momentum, business groups on both sides need to sustain it, he said.

First Published: Sat, September 26 2015. 00:21 IST