India is slowly improving its potential to become a tech hub. The country would be an Artificial Intelligence (AI) capital of the world because of the talent pool and complex problems that it has, and a policy framework for the technology can accelerate development, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said while speaking at RAISE Summit.
Making foreign tech giants consider moving to India
Chandrasekaran’s view: India clearly has the potential to become the AI capital of the world. India is in a sweet spot where Indians have the talent and a kind of complexity that only AI can solve.
Indian government’s initiative: Recently, India has had a bunch of opportunities from both big and small tech companies across the globe. The reason behind private players turning their face towards India is because of the great hit China is facing. China has been at the bad light of the United States for a long time. The arrest of Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou in Canada under the US order and prolonged extradition process has officially begun the mistrust of countries over China. The situation was further triggered by the trade war and the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic that killed jobs and left millions unemployed across the world, and jeopardised the global economy. Many companies were rethinking the supply chains and where they could make and sell goods. Some countries are also looking to shore up their own manufacturing and businesses. However, India comes as a safe haven for them. The country has labour-power and developing technologies that could resort the need for hovering tech companies. The Indian government is taking further initiatives to facilitate easy approach for foreign incomers.
Even though when lockdown and economic troubles were paralyzing the growth for a while, it is a big opportunity for India to move forward. The Indian government has initiated an incentive program in April called the ‘Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing.’ The plan targets makers of mobile phones and certain electronic components by offering them financial incentives to start or build up their existing domestic manufacturing capacity.
The scheme will pay an incentive of 4-6% on incremental sales of goods manufactured in the country for five years starting August 1 to tech manufactures. To benefit the most out of the program, manufacturers have to make at least US$10 billion worth of goods between 2020 and 2025. The program is meant for the incoming of foreign tech companies by compensating the business for the country’s lack of adequate infrastructure, domestic supply chain and logistics; high cost of finance; inadequate availability of quality power; limited design capabilities and focus on the R&D by the industry; and inadequacies in skill development. Even though when the scheme highly profits small sector companies, it has already made an impact in intriguing big giants like Apple.
Housing Healthcare and Education Needs through AI
Chandrasekar’s view: If India is able to solve the problems using AI, then the solutions can spread to developing as well as developed nations. For the coming decade to be India’s decade, the country has to overcome two challenges. On the one hand, solving the access challenge to make necessary services like healthcare, education available to every citizen irrespective of the place where they live. The other challenge is to provide meaningful and productive futuristic jobs for the vast population of India.
Indian government’s initiative: Merging AI technologies with Indian medical system has been seen as a key technology towards improving the efficiency, quality, cost and reach of healthcare. It is being promoted by stakeholders, industry bodies and the government. In India, assistive AI is dominant than the potential technology that could replace doctors.
The government’s entrusted program NITI Aayog is working on early diagnosis and detection of diabetic retinopathy and cardiac risk based on the AI models. Such initiatives help patients in a long run by availing proactive medication in the early stages rather than reactive healthcare in advanced stages.
NITI Aayog and Google have come together to work on a range of initiatives to help build the AI ecosystem across the country. NITI’s partnership with Google will unlock massive training initiatives, support startups and encourage AI research through Ph.D. scholarships, all of which contributes to the larger idea of a technologically-empowered India. Google through the NITI Aayog, will conduct hands-on training programs that aim to sensitize policymakers and technical experts in governments about relevant AI tools, and how they can be used to streamline governance.
When it comes to the education sector in India, AI was not constantly active before the outbreak of the pandemic. The education sector has been slow in the uptake of AI mainly due to apprehensions of educators and parents about trusting machines in teaching students. However, the story is very different now. AI is being used to revolutionize the education sector and addresses many problems.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) very recently introduced two teachers’ handbooks to help integrate AI in schools, in line with its target to teach 22,000 schools with AI and futuristic technologies. The first facilitator’s handbook is about AI curriculum for standard 8th and 9th students. The second facilitator’s handbook is about AI integration across subjects to enhance the multidisciplinary approach in the teaching-learning process with the integration of AI.
AI-powered online assessment tools are now being used by many universities to conduct online exams. These systems set the question papers themselves, from a pre-existing question bank. Such question banks are designed by subject matter experts and they can be updated and edited as per the need and convenience of the institute. All that teachers need to do for an online examination system is, to design an online question bank and moderate the question paper generated by the system.
Setting a Data Governance Framework
Chandrasekaran’s view: Solving for data governance, specifically what should be the global standard for data residency localization, privacy and security are very important steps for our long term success. I think developing a policy framework will accelerate the development of AI and AI-based solutions in a significant way. AI and AI-based solutions, tools and technologies should not be put to use for the elite and instead should be used for the common man.
Indian government’s initiative: On July 2020, a Committee of Experts in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology published the first draft of a Non-Personal Data Governance Framework for India for public consultation. The committee studied various issues related to non-personal data and has put forward recommendations for consideration by the Indian government on the regulations.
The key aspects of the framework are,
• To create modern guidelines to unlock the economic, social and public value from using data
• Enrich creative certainty and incentives for innovation
• To encourage start-ups in India
• To create a data-sharing framework that enables the availability of data for social, public and economic good
• Addressing privacy concerns including re-identification of anonymized personal data
The National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (NSAI) has highlighted the potential of AI in boosting India’s annual growth rate by 1.3% points by 2035 and identified priority sectors for the deployment of AI with government’s support. India is currently a frontrunner in the AI race. It will be no wonder even if India turns to be a tech hub soon. However, it needs a lot of improvement and acceleration. If the Indian government operates closely and keeps a tab on technology by unveiling new programs, the country could reach the tech destiny soon.
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