India’s NITI Aayog forges partnership to grow AI ecosystem in India

According to a press statement, the Indian Government policy think tank National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog recently forged partnership to help grow the artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem in India.

With the objective of building an AI ecosystem in India, NITI Aayog’s partnership with Google will focus on training in AI and machine learning (ML), hackathons, mentoring startups, and providing research grants. The partnership was forged through the signing of a Statement of Intent (SoI).

"Artificial Intelligence is going to disrupt the way business is done and India, in particular, is uniquely poised in utilising AI to innovate for social and inclusive good. India is embracing future technologies such as machine learning and AI to augment its capacity in healthcare, improve outcomes in education, develop innovative governance systems for our citizens and improve overall economic productivity of the nation,” said Mr Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog.

Since its establishment in 2015, the NITI Aayog has been entrusted to setup a national programme to conduct research and development in frontier technologies including AI. It has also been developing India’s national strategy on AI along with the National Data and Analytics Portal to enable the wide deployment and use of AI.

“NITI's partnership with Google will unlock massive training initiatives, support startups and encourage AI research through PhD scholarships, all of which contributes to the larger idea of a technologically-empowered New India,” he added.

NITI Aayog and its partner will work on the following initiatives:

(1)     Training government officials to use open source AI tools

To equip government officials and civil servants with the digital capabilities, hands-on training programs will be organised with the aim of educating policymakers and technical experts in governments about open source AI tools, and how they can be used to streamline governance.

(2)     Funding research in India and offering online training course

The partnership will fund AI-based research in India and offers online training courses in the form of study groups and developer-run courses, to students, graduates and engineers across India on the fundamentals of AI and ML

(3)     Incubating Indian AI/ML startups

Google will train and incubate Indian AI startups in an accelerator program. These startups will be mentored and coached by Google and its affiliates to enable them to better leverage AI in their respective business models.

(4)     An AI/ML-focused hackathon

Under this partnership, an AI/ML hackathon will be organised with the focus on using open data sets to develop AI and ML-based solutions for agriculture, education, healthcare, financial inclusion, urban mobility sectors.

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