The Union Budget this year has laid emphasis on various aspects that impact the economic growth and development of any country. One such point was the roadmap for National AI program. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech had said,

“Technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and others are the technologies of the future and Niti Aayog will establish a national programme to conduct research and development in these areas,”

As indicated by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Union budget 2018 speech, the Indian government’s think tank NITI Aayog has geared itself to create a roadmap for National AI program. The initiative came on heels of China’s three-step roadmap to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. The Indian National Program for AI will also be geared towards developing new applications of the AI technology.

To counter China’s commitment towards artificial intelligence, the government has formed a high-level committee headed by Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar to lay out a road map for India’s research and development on AI and its applications. The panel, which will be a mix of government, academia and industry officials, will be notified soon.

In the Union Budget last week, the government entrusted the Aayog with developing a national AI programme. Under the programme, the government is likely to offer incentives to startups and venture funds that undertake application-oriented research on AI across key sectors including banking, insurance, education, health, retail and transportation. Financial allocation under the Atal Innovation Mission will be used to fund the programme on a nationwide scale.

Jaitley had mentioned that the government will also invest in robotics, big data, quantum communication and other areas. He also said that the Department of Science and Technology will start a mission on cybersecurity and set up a centre of excellence.

Niti Aayog in its exploration of the ways in which blockchain can transform governance in India conducted an international hackathon on blockchain. The objective of the hackathon was to solicit working prototypes on social application of blockchain. Niti Aayog is also in the process of identifying partner organisations from the private sector and States/UTs as well implement proof-of-concepts utilising blockchain technology across various sectors.

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