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NITI Aayog Joins Hands With Private Players To Help MSMEs Adopt Artificial Intelligence

NITI Aayog Joins Hands With Private Players To Help MSMEs Adopt Artificial Intelligence

Akshaya Asokan
Image source: Aberdeen

NITI Aayog and ABB India, a leading technology solutions provider for infrastructure and industry customers, brought together entrepreneurs, policymakers and representatives of state governments to deliberate on how the Indian economy can be digitised with the help of emerging technologies like AI, big data and digital connectivity.

The workshop which was held in ABB Innovation Centre in Bengaluru on March 27, saw the participation of MSME representatives from a selected number of fields to discuss topics ranging from adoption of AI to the possible effect of automation in today’s workforce.  

Pointing out that NITI Aayog is no longer working on a one-way plan and are taking constructive steps by including all the major stakeholders, Anna Roy, Senior Adviser, NITI Aayog said, “At NITI Aayog we are no longer working on one-way policy plans, we have wide and deep interactions with those for whom the policies are intended to focus on. At ABB Ability Innovation Center we have brought all stakeholders of MSME value chain to identify the roadblocks and together find ways in which we can address the same using tools ranging from policy to technology.”

The regulatory compliances attached to the adoption of automation by MSME and innovative business and economic models that these establishments can adopt were among the other topics discussed at the workshop.

“India can leapfrog and show the way when it comes to innovative AI applications. Working with MSMEs and the eco-system is critical for the industrial and manufacturing adoption of such technologies. With its established history of working with them for several decades and driving the change with new digital solutions, ABB would be the perfect catalyst,“ said Sanjeev Sharma, Managing Director, ABB India at the sidelines of the event.

According to the recent government report that studied the MSME market, currently, in India, manufacturing MSME forms the majority establishment with 31 per cent and an estimated 200 lakh organisation are providing employment to as many as 360 lakh people in the country.

With the development in the field of AI and ML advancing at a steady rate, the technology has the potential to bring large-scale disruption in the sector. Realising the potential of the technology and due to manufacturing MSMEs large market scale, through initiatives like Make in India, the government wants to boost India’s GDP by 25% within 2022.

Thus by bringing all the stakeholders involved to discuss on an AI strategy and with initiatives like Tool Room for manufacturing MSMEs, the government hopes to bridge the knowledge gap that is currently present in the industry.

“As India gets recognised as a global hub for AI technologies and Industry 4.0 reshapes global manufacturing in the coming decades, we look at companies like ABB with a legacy of global technology leadership to lead this revolution by enabling our vibrant MSME base,” Roy said.

NITI Aayog’s Tech Outreach

NITI Aayog has been at the forefront of looking at the adoption of new-age technologies for bettering government service. As her the suggestion made by the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, in his 2018 Budget Speech, last year, NITI  Aayog released their India’s first-ever National Strategy for AI.

On several occasions in the past, the government body has collaborated with various private players. We take a look at some of them.

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Adobe: On February this year, NITI Aayog signed a statement of intent with Adobe to collectively drive the charter of developing creative skills and spreading digital literacy across all Atal Tinkering Labs in India.

As part of the plan, Adobe will adopt 100 schools under Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) initiative. Further, Adobe shall be implementing its Digital Disha Program in ATLs , under which free licenses of Adobe Spark premium shall be offered to ATLs.

Microsoft: In October last year, it collaborated with Microsoft to democratise AI for the benefit of the people. Through the initiative, Microsoft India will support NITI Aayog by combining the cloud, AI, research and its vertical expertise for new initiatives and solutions across several core areas including agriculture and healthcare and the environment. Microsoft will also accelerate the use of AI for the development and adoption of local language computing, in addition to building capacity for AI among the workforce through education

Intel: This collaboration with Intel and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) was announced last year where the three establishments will be working towards setting up a  Model International Center for Transformative Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI) for deploying AI-led application-based research projects. This initiative is part of NITI Aayog’s ‘National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence’ Discussion Paper that focuses on establishing ICTAI in the country through private sector collaboration.


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