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Editorial Articles

Issue no 09, 27 May - 02 June 2023

The Exponential Rise of AI in India


EN Team

The economic potential of the deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been widely highlighted by policymakers, technologists, academics and civil society around the world. Artificial Intelligence technologies are on course to become the most powerful agents of transformation in human history. AI is being embraced by an increasing number of businesses, individuals and even governments to boost productivity and raise efficiency. It will not only reshape the global economic and technological landscape but also every aspect of our daily lives. For India, the fifth-largest economy in the world and a young nation, it is imperative to be prepared to answer the challenges of AI, leverage it to solve social problems, and move towards greater economic prosperity. AI is expected to add USD 967 billion to the Indian economy by 2035 and USD 450-500 billion to India's GDP by 2025, accounting for 10 per cent of the country's USD 5 trillion GDP target.

AI uses in India: Artificial Intelligence in India is addressing societal needs in areas such as healthcare, education, agriculture, smart cities, and infrastructure, including smart mobility and transportation. It is helping push technology frontiers through the creation of new knowledge and in developing and deploying applications. As per a NASSCOM report, India ranks first in terms of Artificial Intelligence skill penetration and AI talent concentration, which is also the highest among all G20 and OECD countries. A leader in the deployment of digital public infrastructure, India is set to accommodate AI into its folds to yield greater service excellence. In agriculture, AI is being employed through techniques such as weather pattern modelling and geospatial imaging to optimise crop yields. The medical field is improving medical image analysis to detect life-threatening illnesses earlier and enable more effective treatment plans. In the education sector, new AI-powered technologies are helping the identification of at-risk pupils, forecasting enrollment, and prognosticating outcomes. The Government of India has been at the forefront of applying some of these cutting-edge AI technologies in areas from e-Governance, agriculture, healthcare, education, finance, and banking to law enforcement. AI-powered tools like MyGov Corona Helpdesk, Aarogya Setu, Digi Locker, Digi Yatra and Co-Win are some examples of how the Government is leveraging AI and data to address big challenges. Alongside deployment, the Government has also focused on evangelizing and laying the foundation for building a strong AI-ready future generation.

Responsible AI for all: The Government of India has taken concrete steps to encourage the adoption of AI responsibly and build public trust in using this technology, placing the idea of 'AI for All' at the core of our National Strategy for AI. The Government of India organised Responsible AI for Social Empowerment (RAISE) in 2020, a first-of-its-kind global meeting of minds on Artificial Intelligence to drive India's vision and roadmap for social transformation, inclusion and empowerment through responsible AI. It was attended by over 79,000 stakeholders from academia, research, industry and government representatives from 147 participating countries. The summit also welcomed 320 distinguished speakers from 21 countries participating in the event. The RAISE 2020 Summit was a global success and has been followed up with initiatives like AI Pe Charcha and Digital India Dialogues, which brings together experts from industry and practitioners to showcase use cases and examples of applications of AI for improving services. Recently, the Government has launched AI For All (aifor-all.in), an initiative that aims to create a basic understanding of AI for all.

Government steps to promote AI: The Indian Government has also been supportive of the expansion of the AI sector. The Government's National Informatics Centre (NIC) provides cloud-based platforms to facilitate AI services such as AIManthan which specialises in deep learning models, AI-Vani which is suited for chatbots and voice services, and AI-Satyapikaanan which is optimised for biometric technologies like face recognition. The National Artificial Intelligence Portal and the National AI Mission have been developed to encourage the development and adoption of AI throughout the nation. The MeitY Startup Hub and the National e-Government Plan are positioned to further the cause of information technology. Further, INDIAai (the National AI Portal of India), a joint venture by MeitY, NEGD and NASSCOM, has been set up to prepare the nation for an AI future. It is the single central knowledge hub on artificial intelligence and allied fields for aspiring entrepreneurs, students, professionals, academics, and everyone else. India has curated a booklet as a basic introduction to AI that a person of any age and background can comprehend the basics. Scan the QR code to read the booklet FutureSkills PRIME is another B2C framework by the Government for re-skilling/ up-skilling IT professionals in 10 emerging areas including Artificial Intelligence. The Government has also initiated the 'Visvesvaraya PhD Scheme' which promotes research in areas including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. To foster innovation through research, the Government has created several 'Centres of Excellence' on various Emerging Technologies including Artificial Intelligence. This will allow leading industry players to partner in conducting interdisciplinary research and develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions in areas of agriculture, health, and sustainable cities. To empower government school students with appropriate newage tech mindset, relevant skillsets and access to required tool sets, Responsible AI for Youth Program has been launched and over 11,000 Government school children were imparted training in AI. India has also joined the league of leading economies including the USA, UK, EU, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, and Singapore as a founding member of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), which is an international and multistakeholder initiative to guide the responsible development and use of AI, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth. India has assumed the Chair of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI). GPAI is a congregation of 25 member countries, including the US, the UK, the EU, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore. India had in 2020 joined the group as a founding member. It is a first-of-its-type initiative for evolving a better understanding of challenges and opportunities around AI. For research and development in AI, Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has two dedicated laboratories, Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), Bengaluru and DRDO Young Scientist Laboratory (DYSL)-AI, Bengaluru for application oriented research in AI.

Government adoption of AI: AI adoption in India is at an inflexion point. India has been ranked 1st for 'AI Adoption by Organisations' and 7th for 'Number of newly funded AI companies' (2013-21) by the Stanford AI Index 2022. The same Index places India 3rd for 'No. of AI Journal Publications' and 'No. of AI Conferences'. Further, India has been ranked 1st in all 5 Pillars of Peak AI's Decision Intelligence Maturity Scale, which assesses a business's commercial AI readiness. Using the power of AI, India is on a path to create applications that unlock value for citizens and improve public service delivery.

Digital India BHASHINI: Digital India BHASHINI, as India's Artificial Intelligence (AI)- led language translation platform, will enable massive citizen engagement to build multilingual datasets through a crowd-sourcing initiative called Bhasha Daan. It aims to build a National Public Digital Platform for languages and seeks to enable easy access to the internet and digital services in Indian languages, including voice-based access, and help the creation of content in Indian languages. The platform will catalyse the entire digital ecosystem and is a giant step towards realising the goal of Digital Government

AI-enabled Chatbots: The Government is increasingly adopting the usage of AIenabled chatbots for various services. These chatbots work as conversational interfaces that mimic human interactions with customers. Indian Railways has AskDisha chatbot for the benefit of the users of the ticketing website www.irctc.co.in and tourism website www.irctc tourism.com, where customers can ask queries by voice as well as text. MyGov Helpdesk, an AIenabled chatbot on WhatsApp, empowered people with COVIDrelated information and vaccination and now provides access to Digilocker documents. At CogX 2020, which is a prestigious Global Leadership Summit and Festival of AI & Emerging Technology held annually in London, MyGov Corona Helpdesk bagged two awards under 'Best Innovation for COVID-19 - Society' and 'People's Choice COVID-19 Overall Winner' categories. UMANG app of the Government has also launched its voice-based chatbot that allows users to ask questions in Hindi and English, and through voice or text, about various Government services. National Payments Corporation of India's DigiSaathi also uses artificial intelligence to provide assistance to users with digital payment product and services queries.

Indian Railways: Indian Railways has introduced the 'Ideal Train Profile', an AI-enabled system, to maximise the capacity utilisation and revenue generation in reserved mail express trains by regularly analysing the demand pattern of every single train. Developed by the Centre of Railways Information System (CRIS), the AI programme takes into account various factors such as train origin and destination, timings, class of accommodation, and availability of alternative trains to automate the best possible ticket allocation and reduce wait lists. The system will also help zonal railways to conduct periodic review of the train quotas to address the changing demand mix on account of holidays, festivals, seasons, etc.

City Commute: In November 2022, Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd introduced QR-ticketing service powered by AI automation. It is an automated text platform on WhatsApp which offers ticket and metro rail pass booking. Users can enquire about routes and ticket prices, and register their unified payments interface (UPI)-linked bank accounts to buy tickets and passes for journeys.

iRASTE for Road Safety: In order to make Indian roads more safe and reduce accidents, predictive AI is being used to identify risks on the road and to provide a collision alert system to communicate timely alerts to drivers. Started as a pilot project in Nagpur City of Maharashtra has seen the implementation of Government's project iRASTE (Intelligent Solutions for Road Safety through Technology and Engineering). This system identifies potential accident-causing scenarios while driving a vehicle and alerts drivers about the same with the help of the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), with features such Collision Warning System (CWS), Driver Drowsiness System (DDS), and Lane Departure Warning (LDW). The system identifies 'greyspots' by data analysis and mobility analysis by continuously monitoring dynamic risks on the entire road network. The system also conducts continuous monitoring of roads and designs engineering fixes to correct existing road blackspots for preventive maintenance and improved road infrastructure.

Traffic Management: States like Goa, Kerala, Karnataka, and Delhi have or are planning to use artificial intelligence for traffic management and road safety. Intelligent Traffic Management Systems (ITMS) helps the traffic police in security, signal management, and enforcing traffic rules effectively and send auto-generated challans to the violators with minimum human interventions. Some of these systems are expected to include highresolution cameras with sensorbased real-time traffic volume count technology.

Agriculture: Artificial intelligence in agriculture is helping in detection of pests and weeds, precision farming with the help of predictive analytics, crop health assessment through drones, soil monitoring system, price forecasting of crops based on historical data, and weather forecast to predict unfavourable weather conditions. Artificial Intelligence is a rapidly growing field with a wide range of career opportunities. In India, the demand for AI professionals is expected to grow significantly in the coming years owing to the increasing adoption of AI by businesses across a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and retail. Some of the most in-demand AI jobs in India include data scientist, machine learning engineer, robotics engineer, Natural Language Processing (NLP) engineer, computer vision engineer, AI researcher, AI product manager, AI consultant and AI entrepreneur. The skills required to work with AI vary depending on the specific role, but there are some general skills that are essential for anyone who wants to work in this field, such as programming, mathematics, and data science.

Source: psa.gov.in/Invest India/PIB/INDIAai/ai.gov.in/ Niti Aayog