National AI Portal
The ‘National AI Portal’, celebrated its first anniversary on 28th May, 2021.
Artificial Intelligence (AI):
It describes the action of machines accomplishing tasks that have historically required human intelligence.
It includes technologies like machine learning, pattern recognition, big data, neural networks, self algorithms etc.
AI involves complex things such as feeding a particular data into the machine and making it react as per the different situations.
AI is being used across different industries including finance and healthcare.
As per a report by PwC, India reported a 45% increase in the use of AI, the highest among all countries, following the outbreak of the virus.
The National AI Portal:
It is a joint initiative by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and NASSCOM.
NeGD: In 2009, NeGD was created as an Independent Business Division under the Digital India Corporation (a not-for-profit company set up by MeitY).
NASSCOM: A not-for-profit industry association, is the apex body for the IT and IT enabled products and services sector in India.
It serves as a central hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI) related news, learning, articles, events and activities etc., in India and beyond.
Recent Examples of Use of AI in India:
For the Covid-19 Response: An AI-enabled Chatbotwas used by MyGov for ensuring communications.
In Judicial System: An AI based portal ‘SUPACE’ is aimed at assisting judges with legal research.
In Agriculture: ICRISAT has developed an AI-power sowing app, which utilises weather models and data on local crop yield and rainfall to more accurately predict and advise local farmers on when they should plant their seeds.
In Disaster Management: An AI-based flood forecasting model that has been implemented in Bihar is now being expanded to cover the whole of India to ensure that around 200 million people get alerts and warnings 48 hours earlier about impending floods.
In Banking & Financial Services Industry: Few banks in India have adopted AI to increase digitisation to improve customer experience and use algorithms in risk management (for example, fraud detection).
Initiatives Taken to Boost Use of AI:
- The National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (NITI Aayog, June 2018) which is focused on inclusive AI (AI for all), and the New Education Policy (NEP, 2020) which addresses the need to inculcate AI in the curriculum are the right strategic steps to encourage core and applied research.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MTA) has inked a MoU with Microsoft to support the digital transformation of schools such as Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) and Ashram Schools, among others under the Ministry.
- US India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) initiative has been launched to scale up the science and technology relationship between India and the United States.
- In 2020, India joined the ‘Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)’ as a founding member to support the responsible and human-centric development and use of AI.
- ‘RAISE 2020 – Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020’, a mega virtual summit, was jointly organised by the NITI Aayog and the MeitY.
- The larger aim of the program “Responsible AI for Youth” is to provide an equal opportunity to all Indian youths – in urban, rural and remote corners of India – to become human-centric designers who can create real AI solutions to solve economic and social impact issues of India.
Barriers to Adoption of AI:
- Limited understanding of AI: Many Indian companies may have not yet understood the full benefits of leveraging AI in their companies.
- Low Investments and Less Evolved Startup Ecosystem: Startup/investment funding ecosystem in India is yet to scale up in terms of AI startups and service providers.
- Limited Availability of AI Trained Talent: There is limited infrastructure to ‘democratise’ and scale-up important AI skills such as deep learning and neural networks
- Global Lessons: Countries like China, USA and Israel currently lead the way in terms of AI adoption. India can consider a few learnings from these countries to further scale-up its AI ecosystem while keeping in mind the overall social development and inclusiveness agenda.
- Clear Central Strategy and Policy Framework: AI adoption in India can be accelerated through the formulation of more focused policies related to innovation, for example, patent control and security. Malicious use of AI should be managed as well.
- Collaboration among Government, Corporates and Academia: These three critical stakeholders need to work synergistically to undertake actions like nurturing entrepreneurship, promoting re-skilling, encouraging research and development, and driving the policies on the ground.