India bets big on AI; NITI Aayog working on a national policy and incentives

The policy will look at incentivizing startups doing research in AI along with setting short term and long term goals that the nation can achieve in areas of AI. 

India will have a national policy on Artificial Intelligence soon, the initiative being spearheaded by National Institution for Transforming India, NITI Aayog.  The policy will outline the areas of research, adoption, and ways of gaining profits out of the technology. 

The policy will also lay down short-term (by 2022), medium (2026) and long-term (2030) goals for the field of AI. NITI Aayog is looking at ways in which AI can be used in sectors such as agriculture, health, education, banking, retail, and transportation.
To further promote the technology, which the government of India has been laying an increased thrust on, the policy would suggest incentivizing startups and venture capitalists who undertake research and development work in AI. The policy will also look into hiring experts in the domain.

A host of activities to promote AI

Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister of electronics and IT, had last month formed four committees to encourage research related to artificial intelligence in the country. He had said that the committees will be headed by directors of IITs, and industry experts from NASSCOM, and other eminent researchers. These four committees will work and do research on Citizen Centric Services; Data platforms; Skilling, reskilling and research and development; Legal regulatory and cybersecurity. 

Earlier, Nirmala Sitharaman, minister for Commerce and Industry had formed a task force to explore how AI can be leveraged for development across various fields. 

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, earlier last month launched the Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Mumbai. This is the first research institute in India that will focus on leveraging the technology to come up with social that will help citizens. 

The government of Maharashtra has tied up with government of Canada to establish an AI center. The Karnataka government has already set up a Center of Excellence for AI and Robotics. 

AI and other emerging technologies have been getting a major boost from the government of India.The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley doubled the allocation on Digital India programme to Rs 3073 crore in 2018-19 Union Budget on February 1. He also asked to encourage the use of these technologies in government departments and building a center of excellence for AI and Machine learning.