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Bill Gates Takes Personal Interest in AIDS Program

Bill Gates, Chief of Microsoft, will visit India on 6 December 2005, along with his wife Melinda. Chennai and Bangalore will be among the cities he will visit as he reviews the progress of his $200 million HIV/AIDS initiative in India//.

India figures very high on the priority list of Microsoft. Gates' fourth visit in two years will see him sharing his IT vision as he interacts with key government officials in addition to business leaders, academicians, industry associations and policy makers.

The visit will focus further on realizing India's IT potential," said Ravi Venkatesan, chairperson of Microsoft India.

The visit will coincide with a two-day meeting of Microsoft Government Leaders Forum here. The summit, Leading in a Connected World, will bring together government leaders from across the Asian Region to discuss and exchange experiences related to economic development, governance and education.

It would examine the role IT and communication play in achieving success in these areas.

"India is very high on Microsoft's priorities. Equally important to us is our effort towards enabling India's growth as an economic superpower. We have made tremendous efforts in the past few years towards this," Venkatesan said.

Gates will deliver the closing address at the summit, according to Microsoft India. He is also scheduled to visit Bangalore and Chennai to meet some top Microsoft clients.

The scheduled Chennai visit, if it doesn't get cancelled because of floods, will also see him interact with government and NGOs to review the progress on efforts to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.

"Microsoft India is not just the fastest growing subsidiary for Microsoft, but it is one of the few subsidiaries where it has an end to end presence of its entire business portfolio," said Venkatesan.

The public engagements of Gates include a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) hosted CEO Forum h ere on 7 December and a Developers Forum in Bangalore 9 December.

Away from the public glare, Gates will be spending time reviewing the progress of Avahan (Call to action)- the $200 million grant making initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that supports programmes working to prevent the spread of HIV in India. Most of the funding process has already been completed, a spokesperson for the foundation said.

"There is likely to be some announcement about the progress on the AIDS vaccine initiative also," the spokesperson said.

Microsoft is supporting a range of programmes like Project Shiksha, Project Bhasha, Project Jyoti and the unique customized solutions for the Indian market - all geared towards creating a digitally inclusive society.

--Indo-Asian News Service

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