NITI Aayog Proposes INR 7,500 Crore Investment for AI-Development
Government think-tank proposes a plan for creating an institutional framework for artificial intelligence in India
The think tank of Indian government, NITI Aayog has been pushing the adoption of new-age technologies and has now reportedly drawn up a plan for creating an institutional framework in the country for artificial intelligence (AI), which is considered as the most sought-after technology to optimize business operations, enable efficient solutions and engage with customers.
According to Economic Times, the authority has proposed an investment of INR 7,500 crores for the creation of a cloud computing platform, AIRAWAT ((Artificial Intelligence Research, Analytics and knowledge Assimilation platform). The funds would also be used to set up five centres of research excellence (CORE) and 20 international centres for transformational AI (ICTAI).
A senior government official told ET that the Aayog has already circulated the note for consideration by the Expenditure Finance Committee, which is expected to take it up soon. Earlier in a letter, NITI Aayog's CEO Amitabh Kant had hinted the development along the lines, "To give a push to adoption of AI, it is pertinent to have an AI check in all new projects to identify specific areas where AI can be used."
A Promise from Budget 2018
Apparently, inclusion for Artificial Intelligence was also the part of Union budget 2018-19 when the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had entrusted NITI Aayog with the task of developing the national programme on AI. Following the orders, the Aayog had released the national strategy for AI in June last year.
According to the discussion paper 'National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence', AI could be put to use in healthcare, agriculture, education, infrastructure and transportation. It is estimated that AI has the potential to add $957 billion to India's GDP and boost India's annual growth by 1.3 percentage points by 2035.
The Startup's View
The explosion of startups in India has further opened gates for technological advancements in the country. The policy would have massive positive implications for the home-grown players that are using AI-led solutions. One such platform is Tresor Systems, the parent company of 'Café Tresor' which uses AI for assisting Apple customers with retail services.
Tresor Systems' Managing Director, Shaurya Seth feels that if the policy comes through, "India will be able to bridge the gap of development in comparison to west faster than expected through the right implementation of AI across sectors." Talking about his own platform, Seth added, "Our AI-powered technologies has helped us to manage operational efficiency as well as overall customer experience."
How Far From Global Scene?
India seems to be growing serious about the adoption of artificial intelligence; however, behind it might be from the other global commitments. China, for instance, has committed to building a domestic AI industry worth nearly $150 billion in the next few years, with an aim to become the leading AI power by 2030. American tech giants, particularly, are leading the AI scene globally.
Only recently, Microsoft Corp has partnered with the global education provider General Assembly (GA) to close skills gaps in the rapidly growing fields of artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and data engineering, machine learning, data science, and more. This initiative will upskill and reskill 15,000 workers by 2022, and create a pool of AI talent for the global workforce.