What Are The Key AI Initiatives Of Indian Government?

Design by Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, during a news conference at Parliament House on the opening day of the Budget Session in New Delhi, India, on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. India will unveil its closely watched budget on Monday, expected to get it back on track as the worlds fastest-growing major economy by boosting spending on job-creation and rural development while battling back the coronavirus. Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Governments worldwide are ramping up investment in AI and figuring out ways to apply and encourage its applications. For instance, the US is expected to commit around $6 billion in AI-related research and development projects in 2021. “We have to make smart investments in technologies and innovations — including in … unmanned systems and artificial intelligence — that will be necessary to meet the threats of the future,” said US President Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign.

In Europe, spending on AI is slated to increase by 33 percent between 2020 and 2023, according to International Data Corporation

In 2020, the Indian government increased the outlay for Digital India to $477 million to boost AI, IoT, big data, cybersecurity, machine learning and robotics. India’s flagship digital initiative aims to make the internet more accessible, promoting e-governance, e-banking, e-education and e-health. In the 2019 Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government would offer industry-relevant skill training for 10 million youth in India in technologies like AI, Big Data and robotics.

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According to a report by AIMResearch titled “How The Indian Government Is Championing The AI Revolution”, the use cases of AI in the Indian government include facial recognition and hotspot analysis, biometric identification, criminal investigation, traffic and crowd management, wearables to empower women safety, optimising revenues in the forest, cleaning river, tiger protection, digital agriculture, student progress monitoring and more. 

Additionally, policy-level initiatives by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and programmes around AI by NASSCOM and Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) have laid the groundwork for future disruption and created a roadmap for AI in India.

One such initiative was establishing the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a laboratory of the DRDO, in 2014 for research and development in AI, robotics, command and control, networking, information and communication security. CAIR shoots for the development of mission-critical products for battlefield communication and management systems.

Other recent initiatives include: 

US-India AI Initiative

The Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) launched the US-India Artificial Intelligence Initiative on 18th March 2021 to foster AI innovation by sharing ideas and experiences, identifying new opportunities in research and development and bilateral collaboration. 

Applied AI Research Centre in Telangana

In October 2020, the Telangana government collaborated with Intel India, International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) to launch INAI (Intel AI), an applied AI research centre in Hyderabad. The centre will focus on solving challenges in India’s healthcare and smart mobility segment.

Responsible AI for Youth

Responsible AI for Youth is a national programme for government schools to empower the young generation to become AI-ready and reduce the skill gap in India. Established by the National e-Governance Division of MeitY, the platform aims to help the students develop a new-age tech mindset and relevant skill-sets. 

MCA 3.0 portal

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) recently launched a new version of its portal, version 3.0, MCA 21, which will leverage data analytics, AI, and ML, to simplify regulatory filings for companies. The idea behind the revamp is to promote ease of doing business and compliance monitoring.

AI portal

Jointly developed by MeitY and NASSCOM in June 2020, the Indian government launched a dedicated artificial intelligence (AI) portal, India AI is slated as a central hub for everything. The portal will act as a one-stop-shop for all AI-related developments and initiatives in India. 

National Research Foundation

NRF, an autonomous body under the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, has been established to boost research across segments, including AI. On 3rd March 2021, while addressing a webinar on effective implementation of Union Budget 2021 provisions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Fifty thousand crore rupees have been allocated for this. This will strengthen the governance structure of the research related institutions and will improve linkages between R&D, academia and industry.”

Promoting AI in schools

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is preparing a new National Curriculum Framework for School Education in pursuance of the National Education Policy 2020. This will also aim at introducing a basic course on AI at the secondary level.

Shanthi S
Shanthi has been a feature writer for over a decade and has worked in several print and digital media companies. She specialises in writing company profiles, interviews and trends. Through her articles for the Analytics India Magazine, she aims to humanise tech in India. She is also a mom and her favourite pastime is playing a game of monopoly or watching Gilmore Girls with her daughter.

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