W orld's largest software maker Microsoft on Wednesday said it will scale up its India operations by increasing the local headcount by 3,000 over three to four years, taking the total strength to 7,000.
"We depend on India for manpower that is why we are scaling operations here. We have 4,000 people today and we will be 7,000 over the next three to four years. We are hiring as fast as we can," Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said in New Delhi at the CII-CEO Forum.
The percentage increase in employees would be the highest in India, he said.
"They will play a key part in product development, research and support services," Gates said.
Microsoft currently has three centres in the country -- India Development Centre at Hyderabad, an R&D and Global Technical Support Centre in Bangalore.
Stating that applications for local use should be done by local developers, he said that with regard to handwriting and speech recognition software Microsoft would work with local experts to make sure it applies to all broadly used languages.
Gates was emphatically impressed with India's human resource saying, "India has a fantastic pool of software professionals. The world needs to benefit from this. I never thought with so little product companies software services sector will grow so strong as it has grown here."
The Microsoft chairman was also appreciative of India's 'decreasing digital divide.' "Digital divide is nowhere today as bad as it was few years ago in India," he said.
Gates said that both government and the industry had a role to play in digital inclusion with focus on low-cost computing.
"We created the fourth research centre in India. We have one each in the United States, Europe and China. We said the there will be low-cost computers and this will lead the way to make breakthroughs," he said.
Earlier, speaking on 'Realising India's Potential,' he outlined four factors, including leadership, productivity, digital inclusion and innovation, as determining factors.
(In the picture): Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Bill Gates (L) talks to Congress President and Chairperson of India's ruling United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi while her son and member of Indian Parliament Rahul Gandhi (R) looks on in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Photograph: Manpreet Romana / AFP / Getty Images