Make AI Work For India: What The Future Holds For Artificial Intelligence

As India stands at the threshold of leaving China behind to be the most populous country in the world, it now holds immense responsibility to decide the future of education, employment, and skill development of nearly one-fifth of the global population. With 65 percent of the population under 35 in contrast to a mostly ageing population of developed countries, India’s human capital impact is no longer regional. In the roadmap to becoming the next economic powerhouse and spearheading Industry 4.0 initiatives, the government is taking significant initiatives to rank India at the top of several technological capabilities, including artificial intelligence (AI). 

AI Announcements In Union Budget 2023

In 2018, the government’s apex public policy think tank NITI Aayog proposed the creation of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) for AI learning and development. 

The fact that AI is still an integral part of the Union Budget 2023 shows the government’s continuous commitment to driving the mission; the vision is clear: ‘Make AI in India and Make AI work for India,’ as outlined by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Union Budget address.  

ALSO READ: Nirmala Sitharaman Unveils Plan To ‘Make AI Work For India’. Here’s How The Industry Is Reacting

Some of the announcements provided a glimpse into the plans for India’s AI implementation:

Set up three CoEs in top educational institutions for advanced AI research and development. It can develop next-generation AI solutions and also address the growing talent demand.

Increase AI usage and partner with industries for the R&D of scalable solutions in agriculture, health, and sustainable cities. Projects like Digital India BHASHINI and Digi Yatra can be the stepping-stone for large-scale AI implementation across all major sectors.

The government will launch a National Data Governance Policy to enable widespread access to anonymized data and boost innovation for startups and academia. 
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 4.0) will be upskilling lakhs of youths and aligning courses with industry needs, such as AI, IoT, etc., in the next three years. 

Earlier in 2023, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar mentioned at the first India Stack Developers Conference that India Stack 1.0 version would evolve and become more sophisticated and nuanced with the integration of the AI layer into the stack.

Increase In AI Usage In Various Sectors

A comprehensive approach to building cloud infrastructure, 5G connectivity, data centres, and access to quality talent can increase the AI adoption rate. 

Already a leading IT services and offshoring destination, India is making products for global markets and steadily implementing AI solutions to harness the massive volume of domestic data.

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The coronavirus-induced pandemic catapulted the digitalization pace as the larger population embraced digital technologies like UPI (digital payment platform), CoWIN (Covid-19 vaccination portal), and DigiLocker (digital document repository). 

India’s manufacturing sector aims to be a trillion-dollar sector and contribute 25 percent of the national GDP by 2025. 

With a continuous increase in technology spend, AI adoption is gaining momentum in shopfloor automation, predictive maintenance, and reduced wastage.

The Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) sector is witnessing a rapid digital transformation with the increased demand from the tech-savvy working population. 

With a total banking asset of $2.67 trillion in 2022, India’s key focus is improving the tech infrastructure to enhance customer experience. With an initial implementation in payments and wallets, AI solutions are making their mark in digital lending, insurance, and investment processes.

The retail sector in India contributes to 10 percent of the country’s GDP and 8 percent of employment. Improved digital connectivity has aided e-commerce to trigger a surge in consumption in cities and rural areas. The FMCG sector is growing at a CAGR of 14.9 percent to reach $220 billion by 2025, and more and more brands are focusing on digital advertising to increase their consumer base. 

AI solutions are at the forefront of data-driven analysis and decision-making like demand forecasting and marketing spend optimization.

The healthcare market has grown three-fold at a CAGR of 22 percent between 2016–22 and is one of the largest employers in India. Rising income levels and the post-pandemic shift toward preventive healthcare have increased investment in high-end health tech products and facilities. 

Organizations are exploring viable use cases through PoCs in cutting-edge healthcare technologies ranging from remote diagnostics, robotic surgeries and preventive analytics.

ALSO READ: How AI Is Disrupting And Reshaping The Future Of Banking

Tech giants like Google and Microsoft heavily invest in AI research and development in India. 

Google Research India Lab is working on the ethical implementation of AI to transform healthcare, agriculture, wildlife conservation, and education. It also implements machine learning (ML) solutions to understand multilingual and multicultural nuances and improve Google’s apps and services like search, assistant, and payment.

Besides the data-intensive core sectors, AI is gaining a prominent foothold in digital-first sectors like telecom, tourism, education, digital media, and entertainment. 

Microsoft India Development Center (MSIDC) is also working on various projects ranging from theory to advances in large-scale AI models. Project Jigsaw deals with large pre-trained language models such as GPT-3, and Project LITMUS discovering strategies to evaluate massive multilingual models are some projects initiated in the last few years. 

Future Of AI In India

An IDC report projected India’s AI market to reach $7.8 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 20.2 percent. Organizations will invest in AI solutions across functions like customer service, HR, IT automation, security, etc. 

India has already built an edge in AI talent. The latest Nasscom report ranks India first in terms of AI skill penetration and also in AI talent concentration globally. The rich and massive digital talent pool is rapidly upskilling for AI and catering to the talent demand in India and overseas.

ALSO READ: Transforming Healthcare With Tech: How AI Can Disrupt Healthcare Industry

Despite the government’s ongoing skilling initiatives and development of the infrastructural framework, the Nasscom AI Adoption Index 2022 positions India in the middle of the maturity scale, revealing the need for enterprises to scale up their AI initiatives significantly. 

Organizations should embed their AI strategy with the broader corporate strategy and invest more in developing data standards and building dedicated AI teams. 

The emergence of platform-agnostic AI solutions delivered on-demand over the cloud is helping organizations reduce deployment and maintenance costs, scale AI projects, and witness sustaining business outcomes. Implementing regulatory policies that ensure data protection, continuous government support, and a high concentration of qualified talent puts India in a unique position to expand its AI ecosystem and become the global leader.

(The author is the founder of KarmaV, a SaaS platform driven by AI that helps solve HR processes)

Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, and views of ABP Network Pvt. Ltd.

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