Bill Gates visits Maa Mangla Basti in Bhubaneswar, interacts with people

Bhubaneswar: Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates on Wednesday visited Maa Mangala Biju Adarsha Colony in Odisha capital to see the working of Jaga Mission (scheme for development of slums) and ‘Mukta’ scheme (localised employment opportunities for the urban poor). He also met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik later.

He was accompanied Development Commissioner DC Anu Garg and Principal Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, G Mathi Vathanan, who briefed him on the working of of these schemes.

In his blog, Gates had earlier mentioned he will be visiting a low-income community in Odisha where a government programme is helping women get the skills to fulfil government construction contracts. “Since 2018, this programme has helped 22,000 groups of women deliver on more than 52,000 projects including building roads, drains, and toilets,” he wrote.

He had arrived in the city last night. He also attended several other programmes during the day, including one with a focus on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for farmers at Krushi Bhawan, and ‘Mission Shakti’.

“During my trip I’ll get to see India’s DPI in action. I’ll visit an agricultural monitoring centre in the state of Odisha where government officials use DPI to give farmers real-time guidance. Thanks to Aadhaar, this centre is able to maintain a registry of 7.5 million farmers—even if they don’t own land—and their crops, so officials can keep track of who is growing what (and, therefore, what kind of farming advice they need). It has also developed a chatbot that makes it easy for farmers to get the latest information about their crops, using AI to tailor content to their particular needs and in their local language,” Gates wrote in his blog while expressing his admiration for India’s innovative spirit and its digital public infrastructure.

In April 2017, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Odisha government to improve the lives of small farmers and also to promote inclusive agricultural transformation in presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The foundation has been working closely with Odisha in developing data-based decision systems for agriculture, fisheries, and animal resources sectors; diversification to high-value crops; strengthening FPOs and shaping inclusive markets; digital extension; predictive technology, and integrated farming.

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