India’s Policy Commission, that is the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and Microsoft India have signed an agreement to deploy AI-based solutions in areas of the country including agriculture, healthcare and sustainable environment.
According to the agreement, the company will support the National Institute for Transforming India by combining the Cloud, AI, research and its vertical expertise for new initiatives and solutions.
In a statement, the company will also accelerate the use of AI for the development and adoption of local language computing, in addition to building capacity for AI among the workforce through education.
The CEO of NITI Aayog, Mr Amitabh Kant said that for India, the power of Artificial Intelligence needs to be brought to bear in sectors like healthcare, education, environment and agriculture, which are important for the inclusive development of India. He added that the country should simultaneously utilise the power of AI to develop an understanding of the different regional languages prevalent in India under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat (One India, Best India).
Mr Amitabh Kant said that the partnership is expected to help the country move beyond pilots and understand how to scale AI implementation in sectors characterised by a preponderance of public goods.
According to the release, under the agreement, Microsoft will provide NITI Aayog AI-based solutions in sectors such as farm advisory services; the company will develop farm advisory services to help increase crop yield, pest detection and pest incident predictions as part of projects across locations identified by NITI Aayog.
This will involve applying data science, remote sensing and image processing apps to crop maps, yield data and weather data collected over five years. The pest risk detection model will provide information five days in advance of expected attacks.
The company will also offer services in Healthcare screening models at Primary Health Centres. It will create AI assisted models for Diabetic Retinopathy screening models to support early risk detection, risk assessment and timely medical intervention.
The statement said that these models will be deployed as Proof of Concept (POCs) across Primary Health Centres identified by NITI Aayog. Microsoft will also support NITI Aayog in preparing a blueprint for AI-led Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programs, which the Central and State Governments can incorporate into their relevant health screening and programs.
The President of the company stated that AI holds the power to change how issues in the country are handled. He said that the collaboration reiterates its efforts to empower every person and organisation to do more through technology.
The release said that the agreement will also build AI capacity through education. By recognising the fact that proliferation of AI in India requires a focused approach towards capacity building within the ecosystem, the agreement aims to build capacity among youth.
The Microsoft Research India (MSRI) also plans to set up a Microsoft – NITI Aayog Problem to Solution Incubation Test Bed within its premises in Bangalore to develop AI driven solutions for societal problems mutually identified with NITI Aayog.