Speaking about AI, the Minister said it is a very important and valuable layer on the progress that has been made by the startups and innovation ecosystem over the last several years. File photo
| Photo Credit: Reuters
The Indian Government has set a goal of making technology 20-25% of the country’s GDP by 2025, India’s IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has told Indian American entrepreneurs and asked them to be part of this story of India.
“Over the last nine years, the digital economy has expanded, diversified and currently there isn’t a slice or space in the tech sector that Indian entrepreneurs, Indian startups are not present in; whether it is semiconductors, micro-electronics, AI, the blockchain and Web3 high-performance computing languages and consumer internet,” Mr. Chandrasekhar said in his virtual address to the annual Conference of the Global Indian Technology Professionals Association.
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“Any part of technology that you look at today, there is significant presence and momentum by Indian startups, Indian enterprises and Indian innovators. Over the last five years, in particular, during and after COVID-19, the Indian innovation economy has grown from the 4-5% in 2014 to 10% today,” he said.
“Our target is that technology and the digital economy would be 20% of the total GDP, which also is growing at about 8%, 7.5% per annum, by 2025-2026. So, 20% of our GDP, which will be about $5 trillion amounts to a trillion dollars and that is the goal that we are working on. That is the mission that Prime Minister Modi’s government is focussed on,” Mr. Chandrasekhar explained.
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Describing AI as a kinetic enabler of the digital economy, the Minister said it is a very important and valuable layer on the progress that has been made by the startups and innovation ecosystem over the last several years around the consumer internet and the data economy. The government has branded the artificial intelligence programmes and schemes in the country as India AI.
“India AI in a broad nutshell consists of a partnership between the government on one hand, the large network of academic institutions on the other hand, startups and industry. This partnership today is building out the building blocks of AI for India AI and starting with a collection and curation of one of the most diverse and largest collections of data sets ever available to the research and startup community in India, which is the India Datasets Programme,” he said.
“The other part of the India AI programme is the fact that there are three Centres of Excellence that are going to be funded by the Government of India. In this year’s budget, there’s $150 million that has been set aside to fund these three Centres of Excellence, which in turn will be hubs to a large collection of spokes around academic institutions, universities and colleges and industries that want to engage with these hubs,” the Minister added.
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“The areas of these Centres of Excellence are governance. It may turn out to be that they may, in turn, be a mini stack on its own that would make decision-making governance much more granular, much more directed, much more intelligent ranging from the design of schemes to the delivery of schemes,” he said.
“One of the big stellar achievements of Prime Minister Modi’s government has been the use of technology, and platforms to really transform governance in India from the dysfunctional, leaky corrupt system of patronage and other forms of dysfunctionality for several decades into what is now a very directed way of reaching out and a trusted directed and trusted way of targeting citizens and making sure their benefits, pensions and other government financial packages are delivered to them without leakage, without any delay and directly to the bank account,” Mr. Chandrasekhar said.
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According to the Minister, overall India Stack is gaining a tremendous amount of recognition from countries around the world, and multilateral agencies around the world. This, he said, played a significant role during the Covid pandemic in helping India fight the pandemic, detect disease, and deliver vaccines to the entire population in a seamless and orderly manner, and has therefore acquired a lot of attention, interest, and respect.
The other areas of focus for artificial intelligence are healthcare and languages, he said.
“[In] a country as diverse as India with so many spoken languages and dialects, it’s extremely important that we grow the internet. We will expand the internet [coverage] from 830 million Indians […] to 1.2 billion Indians by 2025, making India the largest connected nation on the global internet,” he said. The third and fourth element of AI is the data management office, and the creation of AI computing infrastructure, he noted.