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India to develop a national AI portal and center

Image Courtesy: 123RF.com

The prospects of Artificial Intelligence are immense and it would lead to colossal social, economic and technological disruptions.

Taking stock of the immediacy of standardizing and enabling AI for India’s future progress, Piyush Goyal, Interim Finance Minister, has announced the development of a national AI center and an AI portal in the Union Annual Budget 2019.

“A national programme on AI has been envisaged by the Govt. This should be catalyzed by the national Centre for artificial intelligence as a hub, along with other centers of excellence”, Goel said while tabling the Union Budget 2019.

The announcement signifies the focus of Indian government on AI and testifies the recognition that AI would be the cornerstone of developmental programs and policy approaches in the future.

AI has the potential to add US$957 billion to India’s economy by 2035. The government’s decision to develop a National AI portal will definitely help India to reach this goal faster, says Nasscom.

India currently stands at the third place, behind China and the USA, in terms of the number of research papers on AI published. The government’s announcement could help provide impetus to research in AI and foster innovation. A national policy on AI was long overdue for India to bridge the gap with other formidable players in the AI race.

In 2017, China announced its ‘Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan’ which envisions China becoming a world leader in AI by 2030.

Industry reactions

Indian AI ecosystem is mainly driven by startups and a national AI portal would expectedly spur innovation and open up new opportunities for the industry. The benefits accrued from AI would spill over in other domains too over the coming years.

Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom tweeted, “Great to see govt’s continued support for new technologies like #AI with the announcement of #NationalCentre n #portal for #AI. Much needed! Equally imp is the commitment to re-skill India’s youth for the new jobs that AI will create”.

Atul Rai, CEO and Co-Founder of Staqu, also seems optimistic about the announcement. He said, “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.”

“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”, said Aakrit Vaish, CEO and Co-founder, Haptik.