Budget 2018 : Fueling the Indian Digital Economy
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Budget 2018 brought forth many announcements, but one of the most significant and welcome initiatives was probably the announcement of establishing national programme directing efforts in the area of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, robotic automation and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Keeping to this theme, technology formed one of the chief focusses in the Union Budget 2018 with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley giving primacy to the "technologies of the future" like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D printing.
In a bid to strengthen its commitment towards the digitisation drive, the government has also doubled allocation to this programme to $480 million (INR 3,073 Cr) in 2018-19, deciding to invest heavily in R&D in technologies such as AI, digital manufacturing, robotics, Big Data intelligence and 3D printing. To help harness the potential of these technologies, NITI Aayog will establish a national programme to conduct research and development in these areas.
With the global economy now transforming into a digital economy, it is good to see the Indian government reflecting deeply on developing cutting edge technologies in the digital space that would help India in making its footprint in the digital economy space. These technologies will play a big role in driving cost efficiencies and, in turn, increase revenue for BFSI and fintech players.
With China, the US and South Korea making tremendous advances in AI research, it was time India had a strong policy in place to benefit from the AI revolution. Recent initiatives speak about the Indian government's focus on improving the ease of doing business, as well as making the lives of people simple.
Let's take a look at why India needs a strategic Artificial Intelligence vision and how it can leverage the potential of AI in different sectors:-
In the telecom sector, artificial Intelligence will play a big role in smooth integration of technologies like virtualization and SDN-NFV and will also assist in automating the networks. Use of AI in telecom industry will unleash a wide range of opportunities for telecom operators in subscriber profiling, content usage trends and network activity. Using AI and data analytics will also help them to identify and accurately pin point when to push various services to the customers at the right time, for e.g. - in case of pre-paid customers, operators with help of AI can notify subscribers when they are running low on data.
In a big boost to the economically stagnant Telecom Industry, the government has showcased support for the telecom industry by allocating 10,000CR for the creation and augmentation of the country's telecom infrastructure. India's Department of Telecom will also help set up an "indigenous 5G Test Bed" at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai. Startups will be able to build services on a high-speed network instead of focusing on low-end spectrum. In this era, companies will more and more depend upon data and machine learning to analyze patterns and networks and expand their businesses.
We are entering a golden age for AI and with that arenas like fintech are also witnessing the impact of digital revolution on multiple levels. Various solutions have appeared recently to facilitate accurate style of functioning for fintech firms like artificial intelligence, chatbots (chatting robots), machine learning, mobile apps facilitating easier and faster transactions, blockchains etc.
The fintech sector is witnessing drastic changes with AI being used as either a facilitating technology or as a part of regulatory system or being used for bitcoin management in the case of blockchain technology. Use of technological interventions like AI in the fintech space will help the industry to address prevailing problems like easy monitoring of data entry tasks and reducing the risk of fraudulent activities.
Most predictions about the job market involve emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation and machine learning. People with strong backgrounds in fields of Big Data and Analytics will also continue to be the most sought after by companies across sectors, say sources in the recruitment industry.
However contrary to the belief that AI will lead to layoffs, industry experts are now stating that AI will actually revolutionize sectors and will create greater level of efficiency through simplifications of tasks . This will lead to improved systems and will further propel the ability of current and future workforce to do so much more.
According to industry reports, the Indian IT industry is expected to add around 1.80 lakh to 2 lakh new jobs in 2018. With a strong focus on Digital India, the industry requires 50 per cent more workforce. AI alone will create 2.3 million jobs globally by 2020. According to reports, one in five companies will use AI to make decisions in 2018. This will help companies offer customized solutions and instructions to employees in real-time.