Budget 2018: Digital Industry hails government’s push for AI and IoT

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Industry players on Thursday welcomed the government’s move to double the allocation for the Digital India programme to Rs 3,073 crore — a decision that will help research and skilling in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), among others.

Presenting the Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that NITI Aayog will initiate a national programme to direct efforts in AI and the Department of Science and Technology will launch a Mission on Cyber-Physical Systems. “The National Programme on Artificial Intelligence to be set up by Niti Aayog, the 5G testbed in IIT Chennai and the mission to encourage Big Data, cyber security and Robotics are some of the initiatives that will help promote Industry 4.0,” said Dr Subho Ray, President, the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

The government will establish Centres of Excellence (CoEs) for research, training and skilling in Robotics, AI, digital manufacturing, Big Data Analytics, quantum communication and IoT.

“The continued focus on building smart cities and enabling wide scale Wi-Fi access will go a long way in driving development. Specifically, the announcement in the field of Artificial Intelligence is a welcome move that will give India the opportunity to innovate and succeed in today’s technology-driven world,” noted Kulmeet Bawa, Managing Director, South Asia, Adobe.

Sumeer Chandra, Managing Director, HP Inc. India, said the company is thrilled with the emphasis on promoting research and use cases for digital manufacturing and 3D printing.

“We believe this technology will enable speedy growth of the manufacturing industry and help India in becoming a major manufacturing hub,” Chandra emphasised.

Welcoming the focus on disruptive technologies, Priya Mahajan, Head of ASPAC Public Policy & Regulatory Counsel, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said that “we hope that the government will also consider additional reforms in the telecom sector to create a predictable, flexible, lightly regulated policy framework that incentivises the businesses to invest, reinvest and to compete on a level-playing field basis”.

The aim of the government is to support the establishment of centres of excellence for research, training and skilling in Robotics, AI, digital manufacturing, Big Data Analytics, quantum communication and IoT.

“It is great to see the government’s continued efforts towards ‘Digital India’ by increasing investment for digital initiatives and enabling the NITI Aayog to direct efforts towards Artificial Intelligence. We look forward to partnering with the public and private sector to create a technology-driven ecosystem which fosters local innovation and research,” said Mahesh Nayak, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Labs India.

According to Arun Gupta, CEO and Founder of MoMagic Technologies, the budget has recognised the importance of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics as tools to further growth at the national level.

“Niti Aayog’s plan is a welcome move which will push investments and research in this space and will put India on the right path for innovation,” Gupta added.

Sivarama Krishnan, Partner and Leader Cyber Security, PwC India, said: “The CoEs (Center of Excellences) will be a key step in building solutions which embed security by design and privacy by design”.

“It’s great to see that government is recognising future technology for building the future. Not only this helps in job creation but also advances the nation in competitive global space,” added Prabhakar Chaudhary, MD-HAL Robotics.

For Prakash Mallya, Managing Director, Sales and Marketing Group, Intel India, the NITI Aayog’s effort to institutionalise research and development in AI reinforces the value that ML can bring to issues of national importance.

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