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NITI Aayog and Google join hands to bolster AI ecosystem in India

by Manmath Nayak
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With the objective to foster growth for India’s nascent artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) ecosystem, NITI Aayog and Google have signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) on Monday.

The SoI was signed between NITI Aayog Advisor Anna Roy and Google Vice President (India and South East Asia) Rajan Anandan in the presence of NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

NITI Aayog and Google will work on a range of initiatives to help build the AI ecosystem across the country.

“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 health care, improve outcomes in education, develop innovative governance systems for our citizens and improve the overall economic productivity of the nation,” NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.

“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.

As part of the SoI, the NITI Aayog will set up a national programme to conduct research and development in frontier technologies such as AI. It has 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.

As part of the program, 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.

NITI Aayog and Google will organize an AI/ML hackathon that will be focused on solving key challenges within agriculture, education, healthcare, financial inclusion, transportation/mobility and more. This hackathon may use Kaggle, a global platform, to help facilitate international participation in these planned hackathon challenges.

One of the initiatives to bolster the research ecosystem in the country includes funding Indian researchers, scholars and university faculty for conducting AI-based research.

Google will also bring its online training courses on AI to students, graduates and engineers to numerous cities across India in the form of study groups and developer-run courses.

Through NITI Aayog, Google will conduct hands-on training programs to sensitise policymakers and technical experts in governments about relevant AI tools, and how they can be used to streamline governance.

Together, Google and NITI Aayog will organize AI/ML study jams for students and developers based on Google’s Machine Learning Crash Course (MLCC) on the fundamentals of machine learning.

For the startup ecosystem, Google will train and incubate Indian AI/ML startups in a program where they will be mentored to better leverage AI in their respective business models.

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