"We are not only looking at building smart cities but smart villages. Our first such project is the Arinsal village where Microsoft will help us. We are looking to build 50 smart villages by the end of 2016," Fadnavis told Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik in reply to a question during the first of its kind technology conference in Mumbai.
The Redmond-based technology major is hosting the conference on the occasion of its 25th anniversary and it aims at bringing together business decision makers and entrepreneurs to envision how technology will empower the lives of a billion plus Indians.
"Arinsal is also called the capital of malnutrition but with an ICT-based smart project we can change this. We are looking to integrate ICT into healthcare, education, energy, and other areas," the chief minister said.
"We want to empower people and we will look for support from Microsoft to enable digitisation of processes, with everything talking to each other at the back-end," he added.
The chief minister also spoke about making Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) smart to provide industrial areas with better efficiency.
Asked by Microsoft India chairman about future plans of easing rules to do business in the state, Fadnavis said he wanted to make Maharashtra the preferred location for investments.
"We are trying to free up more rules. Earlier, nearly 76 permissions were required to set up a new business, and it would take a maximum of three years to get those permissions. But now we have brought down the number of permissions to 37," Fadnavis said.
"We are trying to bring it down to 25 and bring down the time period to three months. We are also empowering citizens with the newly launched Right to Services Act and are giving new businessmen the right to legal recourse," Fadnavis added.
Interestingly, Microsoft recently launched three cloud data centres in India and two of them are in the state of Maharashtra.