CANDI 17 AUGUST 2021
Artificial Intelligence: Growth and Development in India
GS 3 – Science & Technology
As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes ubiquitous, India has the potential to leverage
these massive datasets to build frameworks to empower people, create equity and
race towards its goal of $1 trillion of economic value using digital technologies by
India has seen the proliferation of digital adoption across India, facilitated by
the government’s focus on the JAM Trinity (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile)
to create a digital identity for each citizen.
From an internet penetration of just 4 per cent in 2007, India currently
covers nearly 55 per cent of the population, and is slated to reach one billion
users by 2025.
A recent PwC report indicates that AI can provide global economic value
addition of up to $15.7 trillion by 2030.
The opportunity for AI driven growth
The use cases of AI in the Indian government include facial recognition and
hotspot analysis, biometric identification, criminal investigation, traffic
and crowd management, wearables to empower women safety, optimising
revenues in the forest, cleaning river, tiger protection, digital agriculture,
student progress monitoring and more.
Cutting energy losses: Energy is another key sector which can benefit from
the wide scale adoption of AI.
Currently, Delhi and Kolkata alone account for $36 million of annual
loss in revenue from renewable energy losses across the country.
By using AI in the energy sector, renewable energy generators and
Discoms can cut losses and increase efficiencies by better
predicting grid load management, and ultimately making the
adoption of renewables cost-effective.
Better management of power sector: With the use of AI, the Power
Ministry’s Renewable Energy Management Centres (REMCs) will be able to
provide enhanced renewable energy forecasting, scheduling, and monitoring
Page | 3 | CANDI 15-16 Aug 2021 |
capabilities by processing large datasets of past weather, generation output
history, and electricity requirement in a region.
Digital transformation through AI can help governments in being more
responsive to emerging trends and act accordingly. Within the government
machinery, policymakers are moving forward with incorporating AI solutions
for effective tax monitoring, data compliance etc.
While successfully narrowing down the digital divide, India now has an exceptional
opportunity to harness the data being created to benefit citizens through adoption
of frontier technologies.
The government released the National Strategy for Artificial
Intelligence (NSAI) in June 2018, which serves as a roadmap for the
government to adopt artificial intelligence to increase efficiency in delivery of
services, collaborate with the private sector to enhance public sector
potential, and develop capacities to embrace and deploy innovation.
In 2020, the Indian government increased the outlay for Digital India to
$477 million to boost AI, IoT, big data, cybersecurity, machine learning and
The government also deregulated the geospatial sector allowing private
players to bring state-of-the- art solutions to the sector, and spur innovation
in AI-enabled hotspot mapping and analytics.
o In India this can lead to transformation of various sectors such as
infrastructure, health, and help in designing climate change resilient
AI portal: Jointly developed by MeitY and NASSCOM in June 2020, the
Indian government launched a dedicated artificial intelligence (AI) portal,
India AI is slated as a central hub for everything.
o A beginning has been made with India’s own AI-first compute
infrastructure, AIRAWAT, which is a cloud platform for Big Data
analytics with advanced AI processing capabilities.
o The portal will act as a one-stop-shop for all AI-related developments
and initiatives in India.
The government has established the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and
Robotics (CAIR), a laboratory of the DRDO, in 2014 for research and
Page | 4 | CANDI 15-16 Aug 2021 |
development in AI, robotics, command and control, networking, information
and communication security
National Research Foundation: NRF, an autonomous body under the new
National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, has been established to boost
research across segments, including AI.
Promoting AI in schools: The National Council of Educational Research and
Training (NCERT) is preparing a new National Curriculum Framework for
School Education in pursuance of the National Education Policy 2020. This
will also aim at introducing a basic course on AI at the secondary level.
Challenges for AI Adoption in India
Poor Data Quality: Data is the backbone of AI, hence easy availability of
open-source data is crucial for any country to accelerate AI innovation and
adoption. Apart from regulatory restrictions on data, data annotation and
labeling are tedious but essential processes to provide useful datasets.
Lack of AI and Cloud Infrastructure: AI and cloud are inseparable because
AI is data-hungry and the cloud is the only viable solution. However, despite
the potential, India lacks access to specialized compute and storage facilities
that form the backbone of AI.
Lack of AI Expertise and Investments: AI requires highly trained and
skilled professionals, but being an emerging technology, the talent pool is
limited. There are concerted efforts to be seen, in the form of NASSCOM’s
FutureSkills Prime initiative, for instance, which aims to bridge the skilling
High implementation cost resists numerous organizations to implement AI
solutions. For instance, transforming a manufacturing plant from manual
operation to automated operation would require high capital investment to
integrate IIoT and other components of industry 4.0.
Unethical Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning solutions: With
the advent of AI products and algorithms and their increasing role in decision
making, ethics and morality have emerged as a major challenge for AI
o An AI algorithm works based on training given to it, meaning the AI
solution predicts instances based on the data being fed into it and
based on the self-learning capability.
Page | 5 | CANDI 15-16 Aug 2021 |
o However, in a few instances, the AI algorithm overlooks the correctness
of the data and gives an ambiguous result. It is also possible for the
results to be skewed due to tampering with the dataset itself.
Privacy and Cybersecurity issues: AI solutions build on ML and DL are
based on a huge volume of confidential data, which are often sensitive and
personal in nature.
o Along with automation, AI also brings a range of security and privacy
vulnerabilities, which can subsequently exacerbate any organization’s
exposure to cyber risk and geopolitical risk.
o However, India is moving in the right direction with the Personal Data
Protection Bill, 2019, and the National Cyber Security Strategy,
Sensitisation and capacity-building within the government: Initiatives
like RAISE 2020, Digital India Dialogue and AI Pe Charcha have commenced
a much-needed discourse on ‘AI for good’, covering aspects of evolving
technologies and their policy implications.
o To channelise the promise of AI, it would be prudent to create an
enabling environment that seeks to promote AI innovations in India
while effectively governing them to prevent public harm.
We must create enabling environments in schools through
multidisciplinary approaches with AI at their core to empower the next
generation to play an essential role in designing practical AI solutions for
India and in India.
o MeitY’s ‘Responsible AI for Youth’ has incentivised youth
participation through a platform for exposure on a tech mind-set, and
Data privacy regime: Standardising the rules will help expand markets for
positive AI-driven goods and services.
o Robust public-private partnerships and collaborations, wherein the
government creates an underlying public architecture as a ‘Digital
Public Good’ on which private players build applications, must be
Page | 6 | CANDI 15-16 Aug 2021 |
The upcoming National Programme for AI is a step in this direction
building upon existing partnerships and increasing governmental capacity
in supporting AI innovations and research for public sector adoption.
Public-private ties: It is essential for the myriad stakeholders including
innovators, policymakers, academicians, industry experts, philanthropic
foundations, multilaterals and civil society to collaborate to help steer AI’s
future towards benevolent purposes.
An initiative, Future Skills Prime, has exhibited the strength of publicprivate partnership by aggregating digital-ready courses for consumers
across citizens, government employees and businesses.
Through its technological prowess and abundance of data, India can lead the way
in thriving through Artificial Intelligence solutions, contributing to inclusive
development and social empowerment.
Source: THE HINDU