The recent news this time states of Niti Aayog which would soon come out with a national policy on artificial intelligence, underlining and broadening the scope of research and for the adoption and commercialization of the technology to counter China’s thrust towards AI.

This policy is aimed at laying out short-medium-and long-term goals to be achieved by 2022, 2026 and 2030, as India gears up to meet its commitment towards sustainable development goals, starting from 2018.

Under this policy, deadlines for the commercial rollout of AI might as well be proposed in areas like agriculture, health, education, banking, retail, and transportation.

This might also suggest the incentives for startups and venture capital funds that undertake research and adoption of AI. These guidelines would be again based on half a dozen pilots that the Aayog has undertaken on AI in areas of agriculture, health, education and creation of other social infrastructure.

A senior government official close to this added that the government has been considering to set up another high-level committee which would be responsible for the implementation and monitoring of AI.

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This would be responsible for removing any initial roadblocks the policy may face in its implementation.

It is expected that the financial allocation under the Atal Innovation Mission would be used for funding the programme on a nationwide scale and projects will be granted in the challenge mode.

To look back, the government has already provided a support of Rs ₹10 crore to established and upcoming incubation centers under the Atal innovation Mission. In fact, it had allocated ₹500 crore towards this in 2015-16.

Of this, the original allocation under the mission for 2017-18 was ₹112 crore, which was later revised to ₹150 crore. For 2018-19, it is ₹200 crore.

Besides, the national strategy on AI would also an emphasis on the need for hiring experts in the domain. The official further added that “Our endeavor will be to get the best international experts associated with as well as those acquainted with the applicability of AI in the Indian or developing country context”.

According to the official, AI is a unique technology that can provide a scale of application and quality of approach simultaneously. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, in the budget, had also asked the Aayog to initiate a national programme to direct government’s efforts in the area of AI.

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