As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) take the centre stage in the Union Budget 2019, industry experts welcome the government's push for the adoption of new age technologies.
In the absence of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goyal, while presenting interim budget said that importance will be given to creating a national centre for AI very soon. Further, he stated that to make this happen, the Government has identified nine priority areas and will be working towards creating a national portal for AI in the current year.
“India has become the second largest startup hub of the world. We are proud of the hard work and innovative ideas of our youth in this sector. A national programme on AI has been envisaged by the Government. This should be catalysed by the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence as a hub, along with other centres of excellence”, Goyal said.
Recognising the potential of the technology to create jobs at state-level and the role of startups in leveraging such latest technologies, Goyal stated that relaxations would be granted to startups for removing compliance procedures and regulatory bottlenecks.
The key industry players have already welcomed the announcement and feel optimistic about the adoption of AI and ML at a large-scale at the national level.
Welcoming the government's move to create a national centre exclusively for AI, Aakrit Vaish, CEO and Co-founder, Haptik said that it is a giant leap towards digitisation of India, "With the announcement of National Artificial Intelligence portal, we expect India to be propelled on the path of leveraging advanced and disruptive technologies for economic prosperity and growth. We congratulate the government for this forward-looking budget," Vaish said.
While Atul Rai, CEO and Co-Founder of Staqu stated that the move will boost research and development in the field of AI. "The government has been banking on digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data and more. Thus, in the interim budget, we had expected a significant boost by the Government. We are glad to find out the government’s plans of developing a National Artificial Intelligence portal, which will significantly boost research and development measures in the field of Artificial Intelligence," Rai said.
Acknowledging the government's role in fostering a thriving AI and startup ecosystem, Rajnish Kumar, CTO and Co-Founder of the travel tech platform, Ixigo said the Union Budget 2019 will boost India's economy greatly, "The new national scheme announced by the government on Artificial intelligence is a futuristic scheme which will promote the use of technology and digitisation. The government’s efforts in providing the necessary AI support required by startups, further emphasises the role that new technologies will play in the development of the economy," Kumar said.
Praising the government's effort in rural industrialisation Neel Juriasingani, CEO & Co-founder, DataCultr said “The concept of Digital villages and rural industrialisation opens up great avenues for companies and startups like us in the IoT and AI space, as well as for those working on building digital infrastructure of a connected India.”
“The interim budget 2019 with its focus on the futuristic technology-- Artificial Intelligence is heartening news. We are at the cusp of technological disruption, a national program with the portal on Artificial Intelligence will bring India on the global map and help build an ecosystem to fuel its ambition to become a world leader in AI in the coming years. We at The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) are particularly happy as we are aligned with government’s focus on new technologies and will extend our full support through continuous efforts from The IET IoT Panel,” said Shekhar Sanyal, Director and Country Head of the IET.
It was in the previous budget announcement that Arun Jaitley acknowledged the role of new age technologies like AI and ML in boosting India's economic growth. Acting upon his instructions, NITI Aayog released its AI Strategy, a first-of-its-kind in India which outlined the scope of research, adoption and commercialisation of AI in India.
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Akshaya Asokan works as a Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine. She has previously worked with IDG Media and The New Indian Express. When not writing, she can be seen either reading or staring at a flower.